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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.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62