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Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Nick Ritchie

Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 10:00 AM / 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 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45