Gulls Camp: Goaltending StrengthSep 25, 2019
Goaltending has been a strength for the Anaheim Ducks for many years, and not just high-end talent, but depth at the position as well. A primary reason for this has been the club’s ability and desire to address the position through the draft. The Ducks used fifth-round selections in the 2018 and 2017 NHL Drafts to welcome netminders Roman Durny and Olle Eriksson Ek to the organization.
Durny, a native of Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia, spent the majority of his developmental years overseas, playing on ice rinks that are 15 feet wider than the typical North American ice rink. With a larger rink, comes a different style of play. For goaltenders, players shoot from different angles, making it a strange transition for many who come to play overseas. However, Durny spent 50 games last season and 25 games in 2017-18 with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL to help with the shift to a smaller rink.
“I’m just trying to get used to pro hockey here,” said Durny. “I played last year in juniors. I’m glad I played because I wasn’t used to the small rinks they use in US-style hockey. Now I’m getting used to pro players and I’m getting better every day here.”
“The shots are probably the biggest difference here because a lot of times those junior players don’t even know where they’re shooting,” added Durny. “The guys here shoot a lot of time when you don’t expect it. You have to be ready all the time. You have to go 110 percent all of practice.”
Playing on the smaller North American style rink has been a change for Eriksson Ek as well. The Karlstad, Sweden native has only ever played on the larger European rinks with the exception of one game last in the World Junior Championship. Eriksson Ek was assigned to the Gulls on March 25 last season, spending time practicing with the team and even serving as the backup in the club’s last game of the regular season. One of the main goals heading into the 2019-20 hockey season has been continuing his transition to a smaller rink.
“Camp has been really good so far,” said Eriksson Ek. “I just have to get used to the North American style of hockey and I’m learning from the other guys. It’s a big difference, especially for a goalie. I’ve tried to figure out a game plan with our goalie coach J.F. and so far, it’s working.”
The goalies could see their first game action of the season soon as Gulls will be playing in their first exhibition game this Thursday at 10 a.m. PST against Ontario at Toyota Arena.