The Anaheim Ducks selected Nicolas Kerdiles in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft, making the young center from Irvine the first local player ever drafted by the Ducks. Kerdiles grew up in Irvine watching the team, he told the LA Times, and wasn't surprised by the pick:
"I was 9 years old and I believe they played the Dallas Stars because I loved watching Mike Modano and he was one of my idols," Kerdiles said in a telephone interview from Pittsburgh. "That was a special day for me."
So was Saturday. He said it was hard sitting through the first round Friday, waiting and watching.
"I knew if I wasn’t going to go in the first round, there was a good chance that the Ducks would take me at 36. It worked out well for me," Kerdiles said.
The Ducks didn't pick him because of his address, though, the young man has plenty of value as a prospect. SB Nation's Ducks blog Anaheim Calling was pleased with the selection:
The Ducks certainly got value with this pick by adding the big, burly, homegrown winger to the organization with the 36th pick. Kerdiles gives the Ducks a natural shooting left-wing in their system, something they have been lacking in the organization for years now. Most notably, Kerdiles literally fits the bill, as Bob Murray has mentioned recently he's interested in restoring the size the team used to pummel their way to a Stanley Cup five years ago. Although he's not a center, he'll do. Grade: A
Kerdiles has a decorated young career. He led the U.S. National Under-18 team with 20 goals and 22 assists for 42 points in 50 games, and also ranked first on the team with seven power play goals. He won gold at the 2011 and 2012 Under-18 World Junior Championships with that team, and picked up five points with two goals and three assissts in the 2012 gold medal game against Sweeden. Like all young prospects he has a lot of development to do, but if things go right the Anaheim Ducks may have their first ever local star on their hands.
For more on the Anaheim Ducks and the 2012 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation Los Angeles. For full time Ducks news and analysis, head over to Anaheim Calling.