Since signing his first professional contract with the Cardiff Devils in late October, Sam Duggan has already shown his high potential in the EIHL in his first month with the Cardiff Devils.
A 20-year-old kid with good size, he’s really emerging as a tricky player to contain especially when put on a line with the likes of Matthew Myers, who he could end up emulating as he really finds his place in the league.
While he’s only got the one goal so far in 12 games for the Devils so far, at his age he’s still got plenty of time to grow his game and become a star Brit for the team for years to come.
When you look around the league at 20-year-old players, most don’t even have a point yet in league action, Duggan is one of just five players who are 20 or younger to register a point this year with his goal.
What Duggan has shown since making his Cardiff Devils debut is a level of confidence in his game that has allowed him to not look out of place. You could forgive him if he took some time to adjust to the professional game, but he hit the ground running straight away. He carries himself well on the ice, using his size to his advantage especially along the boards, and isn’t afraid to mix in a hit or two as well. There’s even been occasions where he’s looked prepared to step up for his teammates despite not really being a fighter, and having guys like Mark Louis and Josh Batch on his team that can take care of that business for him.
His offensive mind is clear to see, as a versatile forward who can play both down the middle and on the wing, he’s shown that he can do both at the same high level. His first goal came from just a good instinct to get to the front of the net (something that seems to be a big focus of this Devils team this year) and he did well to ride a bump from the defenseman and continue his movement across the front of net to get the redirection, staying strong on his skates and keeping his body on that inside position to make sure it came off his stick after the point shot from Bryce Reddick.
He’s got the potential to be as strong of a skater as the likes of Joey Haddad, with the strength of Matthew Myers, with Duggan in Devils colours they’ve got the best British prospect not named Liam Kirk.
As his game grows so will his ice time, it won’t be long until we see him out on the penalty kill, potentially even moving up the lineup as well to log more five-on-five minutes too. All signs are pointing in exactly the right direction for him.
One thing that struck me most is during his first weekend in Cardiff before making his debut, I had the chance to interview him live on air on IceTime TV, the composure and confidence he has in his game will send him far in this league, he’s got a great head on his shoulders and knows exactly where he wants his career to go, and carries himself in a very humble way. He identifies his strengths and development areas, and it’s clear to see as he continues to adapt to this league, he’s already showing signs of what’s still to come.
Duggan has had an interesting and well documented path to the EIHL, after dominating the British Junior system where in the 2013-14 season he put up 30 goal seasons for both of Bracknell’s U16 and U18 programmes, he made the move to Sweden to play for Örebro at the U18 and U20 level, where he was named captain for the U18 team in his second year, and an alternate for the U20 system in his final season, on a team that featured 2019 NHL draft prospect Philip Broberg.
He may still be a kid in many eyes, but he’s got quite the CV to boot right now. He’s won at club and international levels, being one of the best British Junior players of his generation with several medals of both Gold and Bronze colours across not just the junior level, but also as part of the GB men’s team that earned promotion to Division 1A, and there’s no question that it won’t be long until we see him lace up the skates for the national team again soon.