Not many prospects had as much hype as Troy Terry when he made his NHL debut in late 2018.
He was America's hero at the 2017 World Junior Championship in Montreal, securing the win with an incredible championship performance. Terry then finished behind Ryan Donato (six points) for the USA lead at the 2018 Olympics, playing a significant role due to the NHL sitting it out. He won NCAA titles, made league all-star teams and finished his college career with 115 points in as many games over a three-year span.
So, naturally, the excitement was there for Terry to make a big splash at the NHL level.
Well, it's finally starting to work out for the 24-year-old. After three years of ho-hum performances, highlighted by 20 points in 48 games last year, Terry has finally emerged as one of Anaheim's top young players. Through 13 games, Terry leads the team with nine goals and 16 points, with his 12-game point streak proving to be the longest in the NHL this season. He's only five points away from breaking his previous career-best output, and we're only in the second month of the season.
That scoring emergence is important because as the Ducks continue to show some muscle this year in the weak Pacific Division, it's showing that their draft success that built one of the most exciting young prospect cores in the league has some merit. Maxime Comtois looked to be the best of the young bunch that included Terry, Sam Steel and Max Jones, but the Canadian winger has just a single assist in 12 games this year. Of course, there are newcomers Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish as the second wave of top young talent, but they're rookies just trying to learn the ropes. They'll need time.
But Terry is relatively far along in his career at this point. He has 142 games played in five (mostly partial) seasons, and after starting the season in a bottom-six role this time around, it wasn't exactly clear what his future was looking like. Because while Terry is still young, you had to wonder how much longer the Ducks were going to try and make the experiment work.
Finally, Terry is getting good opportunities to succeed. He and Ryan Getzlaf have had nice chemistry together, no matter who the other winger is. And while the Ducks don't have incredible scoring depth by any means, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The Ducks are just a point behind Edmonton for the Pacific Division lead (although the Ducks do have a three-game advantage), and Terry has been instrumental in helping to drive the offense.
Terry did see some significant time with Getzlaf over the past two seasons, but also played heavy minutes with Max Jones and Nick Ritchie, two players that were unable to really move the needle in Terry's direction. Terry is a better playmaker than goal-scorer, although putting pucks in the net isn't exactly a challenge for the Colorado native. Give him time on the man advantage and Terry will find a way to create some serious damage.
Finally, it's all starting to click.
The Ducks have an opportunity to book a playoff spot in the weak Pacific Division, and Terry should continue to be a key piece of that puzzle. Even if he starts to slow down his production, Terry already looks ahead of what most people expected from him this year. But it's a good sign that Terry is starting to show confidence and can be one of the team's rocks heading towards what should be a bright future for the Ducks. A playoff berth is gravy, but Terry's continued development into a true first-line winger would be a major plus for Anaheim moving forward.