NHL Central Scouting Rank: 7th
Nick Ritchie looked like a man among boys in his draft year. He already has the size of an NHL power forward, as well as NHL-caliber speed, and he proved he knows how to use both on numerous occasions over the course of the season.
Concerns about Ritchie's consistency knocked him out of the conversation for the top pick, but it's hard not to find his combination of size, skill, and explosiveness enticing. Ritchie is the younger brother of Dallas Stars 2011 second-round pick Brett Ritchie, who looks like a quality prospect after a strong debut season in the AHL.
The younger Ritchie carried a fairly weak Peterborough Petes team over the favored Kingston Frontenacs in the first round of the OHL playoffs, capping a strong second half to what could be his final junior season. He is the most NHL-ready, draft-eligible forward and any team looking to add size on the wing should be excited about his potential.
- Jamie Benn
Scouts are saying
Red Line Report (Top Prospects Game):
Power forward dominated around the sideboards all night, showing impressive strength clearing out traffic. Just shrugs players off at this level. Hard to contain, and draws defensive attention, opening up ice for teammates.
Ritchie's blend of skill, power and size is second to none. He has an excellent shot that can overwhelm goalies. He has the capability of being brilliant yet is still growing as a player. Scary thought!
Ritchie's physical game is fantastic. He's 6-3, 235 pounds and aggressive. Ritchie attacks defenders, and is great protecting the puck. It will obviously be harder on him in the pro game, but it was near-impossible to get the puck off of him at the junior level. ... He's got a good skill level, too. Ritchie's shot is of the high-end variety with a lot of weight behind his snaps. His defense needs some work, and he has a tendency to disappear at times (which is difficult for such a large player).
Feature photo courtesy of Claus Andersen / Getty