HC Slovan Bratislava is no stranger to having talented payers on their roster, especially since the club previously played in the KHL before returning to the Tipsport Liga, the top league in Slovakia, this past season. Nevertheless, the team was excited to announce that they will begin the 2020-21 season with promising NHL prospect Roman Durny on the roster. The Anaheim Ducks have agreed to loan the young goaltender to Bratislava until at least the start of NHL training camp.
Durny, 22, was a fifth-round pick by the Ducks in 2018 as an over-ager after a standout season in the USHL in his first season in North America. Durny starred for the Des Moines Buccaneers for two years before turning pro this season. Unfortunately, the shift to the pros and to a limited share of the net – just 13 ECHL appearances for the year – were not kind to Durny. While there is still a lot to like about his game, Durny faces stiff competition in 2018 third-rounder Lukas Dostal and 2017 fifth-rounder Olle Eriksson Ek to top the goalie depth chart in the Ducks’ pipeline.
On the other hand, Anaheim has veteran Ryan Miller and reliable minor leaguer Kevin Boyle entering unrestricted free agency this summer, which could thin the depth chart significantly allowing for a young goalie to take on a regular role in the AHL next season. Seeing as how Dostal is the youngest of the prospect trio and has no North American experience, it will likely be between Durny and Eriksson Ek for that AHL slot.
A strong start to his season in Slovakia could go a long way for Durny. Behind a strong roster, led by former NHLer Andrej Meszaros, that finished second in the league last year and has already added another NHL prospect on loan in New Jersey forward Marian Studenic, Durny should be well-protected. The team also lost backup Vladislav Habal this off-season, who played in 27 of 55 games last season, so starts should be available to Durny. This could all add up to a strong start in Slovakia for Durny, potentially followed by a breakout season in the minors for the Ducks.