Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Nick Ritchie

Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 10:00 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Nick Ritchie
Nick Ritchie is a man amongst boys in the OHL.
Each weekday leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27-28, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s seventh pick. Previous Profiles: Sam Reinhart | Brendan Perlini | Kasperi Kapanen | Haydn Fleury | Aaron Ekblad | Leon Draisaitl | Michael Dal Colle | Sam Bennett | Related Links: 2014 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History




Michael Smith
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A character in the Coen brothers’ classic film FARGO might affectionately refer to Nick Ritchie as a “big fella.”

At 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, he is exactly that: a man amongst boys in the Ontario Hockey League.

“He’s the prototypical power winger,” said Tony MacDonald, the chief amateur scout for the Canes. “He’s a big, strong guy and a powerful skater.”

Using his already imposing frame, Ritchie, 18, can barrel through defenders. He bulls his way to the dirty areas, sometimes overmatching undersized junior defensemen.

“He’s a tough guy for the defense to handle when he wants to take the puck to the net,” MacDonald said. “He’s a load for a defenseman. He’s at his best when he’s playing a physical game and driving the net.”

NICK RITCHIE
Nick Ritchie
LEFT WING
HOMETOWN: ORANGEVILLE, ONTARIO
HEIGHT: 6'3"
WEIGHT: 226
BIRTHDAY: DEC. 5, 1995 (AGE 18)

The NHL’s Central Scouting Service’s seventh-ranked North American skater also has plenty of skill – soft hands, a wicked shot and a decent bit of agility, considering his build – to go alongside his size. In 2013-14, Ritchie’s third full season in the OHL, he led the Peterborough Petes in goals (39) and points (74).

The Orangeville, Ontario, native became the third player in Petes franchise history to net five goals in one game during his career-high six-point night on Feb. 7, 2014. He was also the first OHL player to score five times in a game since his brother Brett, picked 44th overall by Dallas in 2011, did so for Niagara in 2012.

“He’s got a good shot,” MacDonald said. “He’s maybe a little inconsistent some nights, and that’s something he’s aware of and knows he has to work on.”

Ritchie also plays with a bit of an edge to his game, as evidenced by his team-high 136 penalty minutes in 2013-14. He draws comparisons to Milan Lucic in that he’s big-bodied and tough to play against.

“He’s that type of player: the big-body type that gets lots of room,” MacDonald said. “He’s a pretty tough, nasty guy to play against, so he gets a little extra room to work with because of that.”

Ritchie continued to thrive in the 2014 OHL playoffs, helping the Petes to erase a 3-0 series deficit against fellow top prospect Sam Bennett and the Kingston Frontenacs. Ritchie scored the game-winning goal in overtime of game seven, though the Petes would be swept by the Oshawa Generals in the next round. Ritchie led his team in goals (5) and points (10) in 11 postseason games.

In addition to having a hockey-playing brother who is currently developing in the Dallas Stars’ system, Ritchie is the son of athletic parents. His father, Paul, logged three seasons of OHL hockey and his mother, Tammy, played volleyball, softball and basketball at Brock University.

Ritchie’s blend of size, skill and power is mighty impressive; though some have concerns with his consistency, his capabilities and potential have him pegged by many as a top-10 pick on June 27 in Philadelphia.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72