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Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: #16 - Raivis Ansons

Ansons fell four spots from last year’s rankings after making his AHL debut this past season.

Baie-Comeau Drakkar v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The 2023 version of the Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 countdown list continues with another look at Raivis Ansons, a 2020 fifth-round pick who struggled throughout his first professional season.

2023 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed
#25: Daniel Laatsch
#24: Cooper Foster
#23: Thimo Nickl
#22: Dillon Hamaliuk
#21 Mikhail Ilyin
#20: Ty Glover
#19: Chase Yoder
#18: Emil Jarventie
#17: Nolan Collins

#16 Raivis Ansons, LW

2022 Ranking: No. 12

Age: 21 (Jan. 29, 2002)

Acquired Via: 2020 NHL Draft (Round 5 - No. 149 overall)

Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 192 pounds

Elite Prospects resume:

A native of Riga, Latvia, also home to the now-departed Teddy Blueger, Ansons' profile as a prospect coming out of his draft year labeled him as a player who may have to do some dirty work to get a taste of NHL action as the forward was seen more as a defensive specialist rather than a point producer.

Now finished with his junior career in the QMJHL, Ansons entered the professional realm in 2022-23, playing in 44 games while recording six points (two goals, four assists).

He would be shuffled in and out of the lineup, sometimes as a healthy scratch, mainly seeing ice time in the bottom six. It would not be until January when Ansons notched his first professional goal.

Into February, the 21-year-old would find some consistency in the lineup and on the scoresheet, appearing in eight consecutive and producing three points.

DobberProspects followed up with Ansons after the season concluded, highlighting his injury woes and lack of true momentum with the AHL Penguins.

June 2023 – Ansons struggled in his first season of professional hockey with Wilkes-Barre Scranton. He played 44 games and had six points. Ansons struggled to stay in the lineup this year in a depth role, being a healthy scratch at times. Ansons did pick up his offensive game for an eight-game stretch where he had three points. However, this momentum was stunted by an injury which caused him to miss the last month of the season. Ansons will have to find a way to stay in the lineup in the AHL and produce more consistently to have a shot at the NHL in the future. -Tyler Ball

Ansons possesses some tools that draw similarities to his fellow countryman, Blueger. He even has the support of an AHL stalwart in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ director of player development, Tom Kostopoulos, who went out of his way to praise the young winger last year.

“He does things on the ice that don’t always get noticed but are essential to winning,” Kostopoulos said. “He makes little plays with the puck. He makes wall plays. He’s defensive. You don’t see many kids at his age block pucks the way that he does. He just does all these little things well. He kills penalties. He plays on the power play. I’m really excited about Raivis.”

Like many prospects, the jump from junior hockey to the pro game can, and often is, filled with mental and physical obstacles. But Ansons will use his first AHL season as a tool, a building block, as he looks to hone his defensive skills to reach the bright lights of the bigs.