On the Clock: Nicholas Ritchie
ISS Ranking: 10
Weight: 236 lbs
In a nutshell
At 6-foot-3 and 236-pounds, Ritchie is a physical presence on the ice that can also put the puck in the back of the net. The 18-year-old posted 74 points (39-35-74) and 136 penalty-minutes in 61 games with the Peterborough Petes last season in the OHL. His older brother, Brett, is a Dallas Stars prospect and former Canadian World Junior team member.
Been there, done that
Won a gold medal at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial with the Canadian Under-18 team, as well as a gold medal at the 2013 World Under-18 Championship, and a bronze medal at the 2012 World Under-17 Challenge with Team Ontario.
The names Milan Lucic, Rick Nash, Jamie Benn and Max Pacioretty have all been thrown out there. Ritchie may not have the goal scoring upside as a Benn or Nash, and he may not be as pound-for-pound tough as a Lucic. A David Backes type player comes to mind when thinking about the potential of Ritchie. A solid second-line player that will do whatever it takes to win.
Word on the street
“Nick is a powerful player and when he is skating and driving hard, he is extremely difficult to stop. With his skating and size, he opens up lots of opportunities for his line mates. Players like him, are not common.” – TSN’s Craig Button (Sept. 18, 2013)
Good fit in Vancouver?
Ritchie is one of those rare players that combine size and skill at an early age. With that said, sometimes those power forward-type players take a few years to develop, and in Ritchie’s case, he may need another year of junior, plus one season in the AHL before he is ready to play full-time in the NHL. The Orangeville, Ontario, product would be a good fit on any team, and he seems like the type of player new Canucks GM Jim Benning loved when he was in Boston.