DISCLAIMER: Point totals don't mean everything and there have been dozens of duds over the years, they can be misleading and should be taken with a grain of salt. However when taken in conjuncture with style of play and professional scouting they paint a fairly solid picture.
I make this thread since every other 6-10 draft pick seems to get one on Canucks Talk, so here's Nick Ritchie's
gonna copy paste from what I think is the best evaluation of him. I bolded some parts of it if your life is too busy/you're watching Ehlers videos to read the whole thing
The brother of Dallas Stars draft pick, and 2013 WJC Team Canada member Brett Ritchie, Nick Ritchie is finding his own way as a power forward prospect winning gold with Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF Under 18 tournament, and again at this summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament. Due to shoulder issues, he played in just 41 games last season, but managed to put up 35 points on an understaffed Peterborough team. He seems to have answered the questions about any lingering injury issues with 39 goals and 74 points in 61 games this season. He has added eight points in eight playoff games so far, and scored the Game 7 Overtime Winner against the Kingston Frontenacs, as his Petes erased a 3-0 series deficit in advancing to the second round.
Nick Ritchie is a power forward prospect who finishes his checks, and plays a very straight line game, taking the puck right to the front of the net and not caring if he has to go through a defenceman to do it. He loves to stand in front of the net and has the quick, soft hands necessary to score on rebounds and deflections. Ritchie might have the best wrist shot in this draft class. It is tremendously powerful, and features a very good release. It can be in the back of the net before the goaltender even knows that he’s shot the puck. That wrist shot is already NHL ready. He is powerful in board battles, overpowering defencemen and winning pucks. While plenty of Draft Eligible prospects need to add muscle to their frames before going pro, Ritchie is already built like a truck. On top of that he’s still got room to get even bigger and stronger.
He has a powerful skating stride, and excellent balance, but could stand to work on his speed as it is just average (for this draft class) right now. One thing that really helps though, is that he has a very quick first step and good acceleration. This really helps him to pounce on loose pucks in all three zones. While he might not win a 100 foot race to the puck against a quicker NHL player, he is going to win plenty of 10 foot races to loose pucks.
Ritchie shows his physical game in all three areas of the ice. He just loves to hit and can back check hard and get involved with the physical game in his own zone and supporting his defence. Sometimes this can get him into trouble as he needs to be disciplined to ensure he doesn’t take penalties, and also needs to avoid getting out of position looking for that hit. Still he’s a committed defensive player, and appears to be improving over time, showing a willingness to learn this aspect of the game.
Ritchie is also not afraid of dropping his gloves. He will fight to defend teammates and himself, and doesn’t care who his opponent is.
The anonymous NHL Scout we talked to had this to say about Nick Ritchie: “He’s like a throwback to the days of Cam Neely, Bob Probert, Wendel Clark, and Gary Roberts. How many players in the NHL today can score 25 or more goals in a season and can also beat you up? I can only think of one, (Milan) Lucic. (Jarome) Iginla used to be that way, but doesn’t fight as much anymore. Nick Ritchie has that package, and he won’t last long on draft day because of it.”
On his wrist shot, “Its off his stick so quickly. He has the best shot I’ve seen in this draft. He can score a lot of goals in the NHL with that shot.”
In terms of style, we have to agree that we see a lot of Milan Lucic’s game in Ritchie. As with all our comparisons that isn’t a potential thing, just a style thing. In terms of potential, Ritchie’s ceiling is to be the elite powerforward that every NHL team craves.
1st year OHL : 62 GP 16g 23a 39 pnts
2nd year OHL: 41 GP 18g 17a 35 pnts
3rd year OHL: 61 GP 39g 35a 74 pnts
1st year WHL: 63 GP 9g 9a 18pnts
2nd year WHL: 70 GP 29g 39a 68pnts
3rd year WHL: 51 GP 29g 47a 75 pnts
4th year WHL: 51 GP 29g 25a 54pnts
1st year BCHL: 50 GP 9g 14 a 23pnts
1st year WHL: 62GP 9g 10a 19pnts
2nd year WHL: 70GP 30g 38a 68pnts
1st year OHL: 58 GP 31g 35a 66pnts
2nd year OHL: 54GP 32g 40a 72pnts
Just because Ritchie scored similar numbers to these guys doesn't mean its a guarantee they will translate at all to the NHL, but it is another positive sign he has very comparable numbers to some of the elite players in the league.
13/14 OHL highlights
Game 7 OT playoff winner vs Sam Bennett
Perspective: The Canucks will have drafted two players that scored game 7 OT winners with the selection of Bo Horvat last year
So what makes Ritchie different that any of the many big players that scored in junior but ended up career 4th liners or AHLers? Well the first thing is Ritchie doesn't rely on his size to be effective it's just part of his game. His speed and shot are highly ranked and so is his IQ, his discipline and consistency are where he needs the most work.
Ritchie as mentioned has an older Brother in the Stars' organization and has apparently used him as a resource for guidance to make the pro leap into the NHL.
Now ask yourself how many other 235 lb players with Ritchie's skill set could ask a family member about the keys to being a pro NHLer. Not many, it's a special gift to have someone going through exactly what you're about to go through and Nick Ritchie's consistency problems and disciplinary penalties are about as weak as issues in a prospect as possible.
We should be very afraid of Burke drafting this guy over us.
Here's the interview he did
After the game I had the opportunity to catch up with Ritchie and he was nice enough to answer a few quick questions for me.
LWOS: Hi Nick, thanks for taking the time to speak to us at Last Word.
Ritchie: No problem, thank you.
LWOS: How has coming up in a hockey family, with an older brother already having gone through the OHL, and drafted by the Dallas Stars helped you going through your draft season?
Ritchie: It’s helped quite a bit. Anytime you have someone to lean on for stuff like that, its pretty cool and he’s gone through the things I’m starting to go through now and its great to have him to talk to.
LWOS: You certainly have size and play a physical game out there. Is there any NHL player you are a fan of, or try to model your game after?
Ritchie: I dont think there is any one particular guy, I just try to look at a few of the bigger guys and take a little bit from each of them. I watch guys like Jamie Benn, Ryan Getzlaf, Milan Lucic, they are great players who use their body well.
LWOS: Thanks for doing this Nick, and good luck down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Ritchie: Thank you for having me.
Edited by Merci, 11 May 2014 - 12:11 AM.