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2014 NHL DRAFT
2014 CSS RANKINGS: N.A. Skaters | Euro Skaters | N.A. Goalies | Euro Goalies

2014 Draft Class: Nick Ritchie

Peterborough Petes winger Nick Ritchie is the seventh ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting

Wednesday, 04.06.2014 / 3:07 PM / 2014 NHL Entry Draft
By Chris Wescott  - edmontonoilers.com
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2014 Draft Class: Nick Ritchie
Peterborough Petes winger Nick Ritchie is the seventh ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting
It wouldn’t take long to spot Peterborough Petes forward Nick Ritchie on the ice during one of his Ontario Hockey League games this season. The 18 year-old is a tank.

At just over 6-foot-2, he’s not the tallest skater on NHL Central Scouting’s list of the top North American players but he’s just about the heaviest at 226 pounds. There is no question is size is a tantalizing asset heading into the draft.

“Physically, he’s so far advanced,” TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button said per the National Post. “If you put him in the NHL right now, he’s a big man. But the biggest thing with Nick is developmental. He needs maturing.”

Photo by Getty Images
It wouldn’t take long to spot Peterborough Petes forward Nick Ritchie on the ice during one of his Ontario Hockey League games this season. The-18 year-old is a tank.

At just over 6-foot-2, he’s not the tallest skater on NHL Central Scouting’s list of the top North American players, but he’s just about the heaviest at 226 pounds. There is no question is size is a tantalizing asset heading into the draft.

“Physically, he’s so far advanced,” TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button said per the National Post. “If you put him in the NHL right now, he’s a big man. But the biggest thing with Nick is developmental. He needs maturing.”

Central Scouting's seventh-ranked North American skater finished his career season with the Petes scoring 74 points (39-35-74) in 61 games. He has elevated his point-per-game production each of his three seasons in the OHL, operating at a 1.21 clip this past year.

“I’ve obviously gotten a lot bigger and a lot faster over the last couple of years so I’d say those two things,” Ritchie said in regards to where he’s improved the most.

Ritchie played very well after Christmas. In January, he racked up 20 points (7-13-20) in 11 games and followed that month up with a 16-point February and a month of March in which he recorded at least one point in all but one game. He then led his team in scoring in the playoffs (10 points in 11 games).

There is obvious interest in Ritchie, as he spoke with 25 teams at the NHL Scouting Combine.

“They all do it a little more differently,” Ritchie said of his interviews with team management. “Some teams do it a little more relaxed, some teams want to see what you do under pressure, but overall I got a lot of both of those ways and it was a cool experience.”

Ritchie projects to be a power forward in the NHL and tries to model his game after some of the best.

“I watch (Boston’s Milan) Lucic quite a bit and try to model my game after him a little bit and maybe (Dallas’) Jamie Benn too.”

Button feels Ritchie has that kind of potential. He has Ritchie ranked 16th on his ‘Craig’s List’ of the top draft-eligible players.

“It’s not where he is, it’s where he can get to,” the scouting expert said. “And where (Ritchie) can get to is pretty scary.”

Another influence on Ritchie’s game is his older brother Brett, the 44th overall pick in 2011 by the Dallas Stars. Brett finished this year, his first full professional season, with 48 points in 68 games with the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League. Brett’s name may be recognizable to some Oilers fans. He tallied seven points against the team’s AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, this season.

“I’ve tried to do everything he’s done,” Nick told The Hockey News during the season. “I still try to watch his games when I can and we get excited for each other when we do well.”

Heading towards the draft, Ritchie has the potential to be selected in the top 10. He would be an investment for any team wanting to develop a forward with his size and skill. Ritchie went into the Combine last week hoping to boost his stock. He feels the fitness testing and the interviews went well.

“It was good,” he said. “Obviously it was pretty tough, it took a while, but it feels good to be done and it was a good experience.”

As for where he goes, the Orangeveille, ON native says it would be a great experience to play for a Canadian team.

“It’d be awesome to play for a Canadian team. I’m from Canada and I kind of grew up watching all of those teams so it would be a pretty cool experience for sure.”
2014 NHL DRAFT COVERAGE
INSIDE THE OILERS
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2013 - WHO THE OILERS PICKED
  • 7th overall - Darnell Nurse
  • 56th overall - Marc-Olivier Roy
  • 83rd overall - Bogdan Yakimov
  • 88th overall - Anton Slepyshev
  • 94th overall - Jackson Houck
  • 96th overall - Kyle Platzer
  • 113th overall - Aidan Muir
  • 128th overall - Evan Campbell
  • 158th overall - Ben Betker
  • 188th overall - Gregory Chase