Another familiar face hit the ice as an NHLer this past weekend, and was lucky enough to skate alongside some hockey greats.
Former Victoria Royals forward Brayden Tracey made his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks Sunday night, skating just over nine minutes and registering one shot on goal.
Tracey was immediately placed into a prime opportunity, skating alongside Anaheim Ducks all-time leading point scorer and captain Ryan Getzlaf.
To boot? His other line mate was Troy Terry, who is tied for 3rd in the NHL this year with 22 goals—not a bad introduction to the NHL.
Clearly, the Ducks see Tracey, who they selected in the first round at 29th overall in 2019 NHL Draft, as a future offensive weapon.
Tracey translates hot start in American Hockey League to quick NHL call up
The Ducks have every reason to believe Tracey will develop into a contributing attacking player at the NHL level. He makes smart passes and has a deceptive shot, and has quickly adjusted to life in the pros, scoring 21 points in 24 games in the American Hockey league (AHL)—not bad for a 20 year old.
Players his age often require a year or two to adjust to the strength and speed of the AHL, but Tracey has seamlessly made the transition to the tougher competition, and has a bright future ahead of him. At the time of his call up, he was 7th in rookie scoring in the AHL, which is never a bad sign.
He may require a further season in the minors before he’s truly ready to contribute at the NHL level, but no doubt the early returns have been encouraging for the Ducks.
Unfortunately, Tracey’s Royals career was shorter than hoped
Brayden Tracey’s Victoria Royals career was nixed short by COVID-19, but he still got two seasons under his belt with Victoria team.
Of course, it happened to be the two seasons where the WHL didn’t have playoffs following the regular season, meaning the former Moose Jaw Warrior never got the chance to suit up for the Royals in the tournament during the prime of his junior career.
Acquired at the trade deadline from Moose Jaw during the 2019-2020 season, the Royals were able to add an NHL first round draft pick to their lineup, which on its own is a rarity.
The WHL produces roughly a half dozen NHL 1st rounders per draft, meaning NHL scouts believed Tracey to be one of the most promising players in the league.
Ultimately, Tracey played 24 games his first season as a Royal, and 22 in last year’s COVID-shortened season, finishing with a total of 44 points in 46 games over his two season career with Victoria.
A premium WHL talent at the time of acquisition, it’s a shame his Royals contributions were cut short given the high cost it required to get a player of his reputation.
— Victoria Royals (@victoriaroyals) January 10, 2022
Regardless, with Noah Gregor, another former Royal getting his first taste of the big leagues with the San Jose Sharks, Royals fans will have a few familiar faces to follow in the NHL this season.
Time will tell if we’ll see Royals legend Matthew Phillips join them in the NHL this season after making his one-game debut last year—he currently has 27 points in 26 games for Calgary’s AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.