Behind the rise of Ducks second round pick Olen Zellweger – The Athletic

CALGARY – To the world, the increase in draft year Olen Zellweger of C-ranked prospect by the NHL Central Scouting to the Anaheim Ducks second-round pick comes as a surprise.

Odds ranked him as an end-of-round pick likely to be picked in Rounds 5-7 of the 2021 NHL Draft. And on top of that, not only was Zellweger one of the youngest players taken in the draft, born within a week of 2022 class eligibility, but at 5-10 and 175 pounds he was also. one of its smallest defenders.

But for those on the inside – for her skating coach, skills coach, strength coach and WHL head coach and general manager – Zellweger’s emergence of the draft year was more of a question of when not if.

They have always seen it.

“You could always see how dynamic he was,” said Tyrel Spitzer of Northern Alberta Xtreme Hockey Academy, Zellweger’s skills coach.

“You could see him coming because he works so hard at it,” said Barry Butt, who has coached Zellweger since he was 12.

“You could tell he was on a mission right from the start when he got to Everett,” said Everett Silvertips head coach and general manager Dennis Williams.

Last week, the Ducks joined that chorus of believers when they bet on Zellweger with the second pick in the second round. This week, his arrival brought him to the Tsuut’ina Nation on the outskirts of Calgary for Hockey Canada’s summer showcase, where he began his quest for Canada’s World Junior Championships roster as the third youngest. invited to camp.

Spitzer and Britney Millar don’t skate Zellweger together, but they do tell the same stories of their hours on the ice with him.


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