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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
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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81