Ducks Have Strange Plan For No. 2 Overall Pick Leo Carlsson

No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Leo Carlsson, was a healthy scratch for the Anaheim Ducks in their last two games. Yes, he looked good in his first two games of the season, with a goal and a plus-2 in 20 minutes average ice-time. 

Turns out the team has revealed some intriguing plans for Carlsson this year. TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun explains:

Pat Verbeek (Ducks GM) sat down with Leo Carlsson and his agent, and they came up with this plan, which is to limit him to two games a week for the first two months of the season, and then reevaluating where he is in his game. 

Pat Verbeek says it's about having a bigger impact and feeling fresher in the second half. 

It sounds like "load management". Just 18 years old, Carlsson only played 44 games last year in the Swedish hockey league, and 35 games the year before. The Ducks seem concerned the 82-game NHL schedule could be a bit overwhelming for him. 

Ducks reporter Derek Lee adds that it's all part of a schedule based on a "strength and development program".

This is certainly a whole new idea for developing a young prospect, but if their plan is to have Carlsson "be a horse" in the second half, as Verbeek told another Ducks beat writer, Eric Stephens of the Athletic, then it'll be intriguing to see how this all works out. 

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports