Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras’ confidence growing with each passing game

It wasn’t too long ago where Detroit Red Wings forwards Lucas Raymond was considered the lead horse in the race for rookie-of-the-year.

However, in the last week, Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks is creating a palpable buzz across the NHL landscape.

The 20 year-old has eight assists in his past five games, including a setup that being deemed “The Michigan” of hockey passes.

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Zegras confidence growing after impressive pass

Zegras was behind the net on Tuesday night when he lifted the puck with the blade of his stick and flipped it in front to Sonny Milano, who slapped the puck into the goal.

The highlight-reel goal gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead early in the second period. They held on for a 2-0 win.

“I had some time, so (Milano) was calling for a Michigan,” Zegras recalled after the game. “So I picked it up and passed it to him. It was pretty funny how it all worked out.”

Mike Legg pulled off a goal for the Univeristy of Michicgan in the 1996 NCAA Tournament by flipping the puck on his stick and stuffing it past an unwitting goalie.

“He’s highly creative,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “He believes he can do anything with the puck.”

Zegras opened a lot of eyes with his play at the 2021 World Juniors helping Team USA capture Gold. Last season, he played 24 games for the Ducks and scored 13 points.

This season, Zegras has amassed 22 points in 26 games and is just two points behind Raymond for most by a rookie.

The NHL is on notice, and Zegras seems to only be getting better.

Chemistry with Milano

Trevor Zegras
BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 7: Trevor Zegras #46 reacts to Sonny Milano #12 of the Anaheim Ducks scoring a second period goal during an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 7, 2021 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The play of Zegras has also helped generate impressive results for Milano, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Blue Jackets.

Milano has three goals and four assists in his last five games. He has eight goals and 12 assists on the season, three points off his career high set during the 2019-20 season, which he split between Columbus (18 points) and Anaheim (five).

The Blue Jackets didn’t have Milano in their future plans after he spent parts of five seasons in Columbus. They dealt him to Anaheim in February of 2020 for Devin Shore, who played six games for the Blue Jackets before they declined to offer him a contract the following offseason.

Milano was the odd man out during training camp this season as well, getting sent to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League four days before the Ducks opened their season on Oct. 13.

Milano missed the first four games with Anaheim before he was recalled on Oct. 19. He was in the lineup two days later and produced a goal and an assist in his second game while playing with Zegras.

They’ve been on the same line ever since.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article