Sam Duggan – “One of England’s Greatest Talents Ever”

Sam Duggan

Upon the completion of the 2015-16 NHL season, and Stanley Cup playoffs, we get to look forward to the 2016 Entry Draft, in which a talented young Englishman will be eligible for selection.

17 year old Samuel Duggan, from Reading, will turn 18 in July, qualifying him for next year’s draft.

The center / left winger made his way onto the hockey scene by coming up through the Bracknell Bees youth development ranks. He played for the Under 16’s Bracknell Stingers and then the Under 18’s Bracknell Drones from 2011-12 through to his final season 2013-14. As you can probably calculate, he played for each of these teams whilst being well below their upper age limits.

Duggan’s 80 youth Bracknell games, for the Stingers and the Drones, yielded a whopping 275 points. These staggering numbers proved that his talent exceeded that of the junior ice hockey played in England.

During his Bracknell years, Sam was also called up the Great Britain Under 18’s and Under 20’s teams. He scored 7 points in 5 games and was also given the “A” for U18 and played 5 and assisted once for the U20.

The Big Switch to Sweden

Commencing the start of the 2014-15 season, Duggan made the switch to Swedish junior hockey, to play for Örebro HK’s Junior 18’s team.

When the signing had been announced, Hockey Sverige described him as “The Next Tony Hand” and praised him for playing in his national side whilst being two years younger than most of the others competing alongside him.

After Sam’s move to Swedish hockey he remained a key feature to Great Britain’s youth teams. Following another selection to the GB U20, aged just 16, Örebro’s Official Website recalled the side’s Junior manager, Jens Gustafsson, describing Duggan as:

“…one of England’s greatest talents ever”

The Englishman successfully transitioned into Swedish junior hockey. In his first season he put up 32 points in 37 Örebro HK J18 (junior under 18’s) games and played 3 times for the J20 team.

This season, Sam Duggan has shown further development. He became the J18 captain and scored 20 points in 15 appearances. The English forward has also played for J20 in the SuperElit league. As it stands, Duggan has 5 points in 13 games, and is still only 17 years old.

Elite Prospects clock him in at 6’1’’ and 187 lbs, so he’s a big lad with plenty of time to get bigger. If he continues to progress in the J20 team he should develop into a solid skater.

The Impending Draft

After viewing many draft prediction sites, not one of them tip Sam Duggan to go in the 7 rounds of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

The NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch only highlighted one player from Örebro, and that was goaltender Daniel Marmenlind, who’s expected to go in round 2 or 3.

Due to his July birthday Duggan is one of the youngest in his class, and so has had less time to develop. If he misses out this year then he could capitalise on what would almost be a ‘bonus’ draft year, and solidify himself in Örebro’s J20 side, whilst improving his game even further. He’d still only be 19 by the end of next season so has plenty of time to impress the NHL scouts.

It would be great for all UK ice hockey fans to see a home grown player like Samuel Duggan develop into an NHLer, especially considering how great Tony Hand could have been.

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  • As a Swedish ice-hockey coach for u16’s in Sweden, this article made me chuckle. Are you for real? Sweden, Finland, Denmark and even Norway can list a few hundred players with more talent, and yet, 99% of them doesnt make the NHL.
    If you follow modern hockey, you also know that player size is not really important in todays speedy game.

    • I can see your point Henrik, but we have slim pickings to get excited about over here. So let us have our little excitement and a little bit of hope. I for one at least hope he carves out a good career in Sweden.

      I know size is becoming less of a factor, but take a franchise like Minnesota, they have definitely made an effort to draft bigger over the past few drafts. Yes enforcers are coming out of the game, but teams like the blues and the bigger teams are forcing people to draft taking size into account and hoping they can make a project out of them. And a Minne for one has wasted high draft picks, 2 second rounds in recent times purely based on the size, Bullmer and Bussieres and then a 3rd on Kurtis Gabriel, pure project players drafted so high on physical tools. I’ll happily predict bust, bust, bust on those 3.

      And yes I’m a suffering Wild fan, but very much looking forward to the EK a few years down the line.

      Yes the NHL is changing, but size for some organisations at least, is playing a huge part in the drafting process.

      As a coach over in Sweden, any potential steals, off the radar players we should look out for? And any thoughts on the off the radar Pontus Sjalin pick from a few drafts back. Hard to find information on him.

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