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2014 NHL Draft Central

Nashville Predators Draft Targets – Nicholas Ritchie

2011-12 Peterborough Petes.Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Jun 19, 2014

2013-2014 Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)

2013-2014 Stats: 61gp, 39g, 35a (74pts)

Scouting Report Synopsis (via Elite Prospects):

“Ritchie is a prototypical power forward with an impressive blend of size, skill and strength. He skates well for a big player and has agile feet. He bulls his way around the ice and has an impressive, erratic shot.

Why Nashville WOULD draft Nicholas Ritchie:

When it comes to true power forwards, Nick Ritchie is the real deal. At the size of a stout defenseman, 6’3″ and 236 pounds, Ritchie uses his frame and tenacity to power his way into the offensive zone and bend the defense to his will. Currently finishing his third year with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, Ritchie has nearly doubled his career best with the team producing 74 points in 61 games compared to his previous best of 39 points in 62 games two seasons prior. Regardless of his size, Ritchie can score. He even produced a six point game (five goals and one assist) this past February 7th against the Kingston Frontenacs.

While most forwards that Nashville has drafted in the past have needed to work on their size and strength to progress them to the point of being NHL-ready, there’s no doubt in my mind that Ritchie will not have to grow anymore to be “size-ready” for the NHL. With a quick shot and an ability to move the opposition out of the way, the Predators could easily do with a player of his caliber.

Why Nashville WOULD NOT draft Nicholas Ritchie:

Ritchie is truly built for the NHL, but the one thing he seemingly lacks right now is a definitive top speed. While that’s something that can be worked on at the any professional level, it’s a bit of a concern for a team like the Predators who are in need of fast wingers.

Another concern? Could Ritchie be considered as a “grinder”? Absolutely. He’s large, tough to knock off the puck, fights through checks, everything the Predators love. Yet, the real question for Nashville is do they need another grinder-type player in their lineup? They already have a few too many as it is.

Chance that Nashville drafts Nicholas Ritchie:

Fair. Ritchie could fall to 11, where the Predators are scheduled to draft. However, I don’t see Nashville taking a player that already fits the mold they’ve been known for over the past 16 years. I think times are changing and that may leave Ritchie to be drafted by another team. Although, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them draft a player who could truly be a shining example of “The Predator Way”.

Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images