Drafted with the 29th overall pick in 2019, forward Brayden Tracey is feeling more confident in his second training camp with the San Diego Gulls.
Potentially overshadowed but not overlooked, Anaheim Ducks’ 2019 first-round pick Brayden Tracey doesn’t immediately grab the headlines, unlike ninth overall pick Trevor Zegras. Still, Tracey is a dynamic forward who tallied 36 goals and 81 points with Moose Jaw of the WHL in his draft year. He participated in Ducks’ training camp before heading back to Moose Jaw for the 19-20 season. In January, he was traded to Victoria but tallied 22 goals and 39 assists in a 52-game sample size. With the WHL’s season in limbo due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tracey is participating in San Diego Gulls training camp.
“I gained a lot more confidence second-time-around than the first time — just to get your feet wet a little bit and get to know everybody,” Tracey said after practice on Sunday. “Even during the summer before camp as well was a big advantage for me, getting comfortable around the guys and more confident. Just play my game and be confident.”
Tracey is one of four Ducks’ first-round picks participating in Gulls’ training camp this season. Of course, the other three include Zegras, and 2020 draft picks in Jamie Drysdale and Jacob Perreault. The 19-year-old Tracey logged two shots in San Diego’s 5-1 preseason opener against San Jose last week. He noted how much Gulls’ head coach Kevin Dineen has already helped his game.
“Yeah, he’s awesome,” Tracey said with excitement. “He’s a really good guy. He’s been helping me lots. He’s been pushing me, pushing me. We’re doing lots of video, one-on-one stuff — he’s helped a lot with the power play, one-on-one battles, just kind of everything on my all-around game. He’s obviously a guy who is going to help me and bring me along.”
Under normal circumstances, Tracey wouldn’t be eligible to play in the AHL this season due to the age restrictions. As noted, the CHL’s schedule for all associated leagues is up in the air, so Tracey is among those able to participate and play with the Gulls until something is settled. The Calgary, Alberta, native has primarily been lined up at left wing on the team’s third line with Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Andrew Poturalski.
The Gulls have three more preseason games – one against Stockton, a makeup game against Ontario, and an extra game against Bakersfield — before the regular season begins on February 5.
“Yeah, it’s coming fast,” Tracey said regarding the regular season. “The first couple days, there were only like 12 of us. Once guys started rolling in, the intensity starting picking up. Obviously, the preseason these are huge games for us. We have to take advantage of them. With two weeks away until games, we think we’ll be ready.”