Next step for Trevor Zegras’ development: his maturity

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Anaheim Ducks young star Trevor Zegras is in the midst of yet another impressive campaign, but his maturity has often gotten himself and the Ducks in trouble this season.

The 21-year-old center is currently sitting at 19-28-47 and is well on his way to back-to-back 60+ point seasons. Zegras and Troy Terry are looking to be the first Ducks to have back-to-back 60+ point seasons since Ryan Getzlaf in the 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 seasons.

It is safe to say that Zegras has cemented his place as the face of the Ducks franchise and is turning into one of the faces of the NHL. Being one of the faces of the NHL means you will have polarizing opinions about yourself with lots of supporters and haters, and Zegras has plenty of both.

Numerous hockey fans love Zegras for his elite playmaking abilities and “golden retriever” personality. Look no further than his highlight tape and any Ducks social media videos with him to see why he’s poised to be a star for years to come.

But his antics are what draws in the haters. Ducks fans see some shades of Corey Perry in Zegras’ game with the way he can get underneath the skin of his opponents. The trash talk, the smirks, and the extra cross-check are all ingredients to building a pest. To be clear, being a pest is fine, but you have to know the line not to cross, and Zegras is still learning where that line is.

The obvious example is the Zegras v Stetcher incident a few weeks ago, where Zegras said something to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Troy Stetcher that crossed the line and made Stetcher irate.

There was a lot of speculation on social media as to what Zegras said, and many thought Zegras said something that had to do with Stetcher’s late father, but Stetcher has since confirmed it was not about his father but still about his family.

As relieving as it was to hear Zegras did not say anything about Stetcher’s father, it still does not make whatever Zegras said right. Trash-talking has always been a major part of hockey, and many players dance on the line of what is allowed and not allowed to say, and Zegras’ immaturity got him in trouble.

That incident got Zegras a ten-minute misconduct to add to his already high penalty minute totals.

Zegras has the second most penalty minutes on the Ducks this season, and given that he doesn’t have a fight in his young NHL career, his lack of discipline has sometimes hurt the Ducks. The team has problems far worse than Zegras’ penalties, but they obviously do not help.

The usual suspects for Zegras’ penalties have been cross-checking, slashes, or hooking penalties. All things that, over time, should improve, but Zegras needs to put in the effort to limit those penalties because they add up.

Another area where Zegras’ maturity creates problems for him and the Ducks is on the backcheck. There are too many items where opposing teams go on the rush, and Zegras is seen in the background coasting to the defensive zone instead of joining the play.

Zegras is a fine defensive player, but he has to get to the defensive zone first. Zegras’ speed and impressive stick skills translate to the defensive zone, where he can break up plays and exit the zone cleanly.

There is no doubt in my mind that Zegras will be an excellent player for the Ducks and will help them take deep playoff runs in the near future, but with some maturing, he will elevate his game to another level to be a great compliment to the Ducks young core.

On this episode of LAP, the guys cover the week's games and reflect on Jakob Silfverberg's career after the news of his retirement. Leo Carlsson continues to be him and the wait for Cutter Gauthier is prolonged another day. The guys talk about some exciting milestones from around the league and briefly talk about the Coyotes relocation chatter. As always, they close the episode out with listener questions!Follow Late Arrivals Twitter: @latearrivalspodInstagram: @latearrivalspodFollow the hostsChris: @CJKChelJake: @_JRobles71Louis: @Louiex37 Intro/ Outro done by Will Rice/ @pastorwillrice
  1. Episode 83: Ooh Ah
  2. Episode 82: The Thinking Man's Podcast
  3. Episode 81: Whatabummer
  4. Episode 80: It's Only Game
  5. Episode 79: What's Nine Plus Ten?

Jack Janes

Journalism major at the University of La Verne. Writer for Inside The Rink covering the Anaheim Ducks.

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