Six years after being a top-10 pick by the Anaheim Ducks, the Boston Bruins acquired Nick Ritchie at the trade deadline.
With hockey on hold, we thought it was a good time to go back and look at what independent scouting service Red Line Report had to say about Ritchie in his draft season (2013-14). Every month/issue of Red Line features an in-depth profile scouting report/hybrid background article, and this appeared in the Mar. 2014 issue. It includes grades on his hockey attributes and interviews with him and his Peterborough Petes head coach, Jody Hull.
Big, bruising and intimidating winger…
The premier power forward in this draft and one of the toughest fighters in the OHL…
“I think he’s going to be a prototypical power forward along the lines of a Milan Lucic. Ritchie does a lot of things people may not know about. I don’t think it’s well known just how tough he is, and when you add his skill and offensive ability, he’s someone who can do it all.”- Hull
The profile also touches on Ritchie’s areas of improvement such as consistency and conditioning. These are the things that have dogged him in his pro career to date, and why the B’s were able to pry him out of Anaheim (albeit for a very good young player in Danton Heinen). Bottom line- if Ritchie was a Lucic (the Bruins version), there’s no way the Ducks would’ve traded him.
For more on the Red Line Report, the website is www.redlinereport.com and the service will publish its annual NHL Draft Guide in June, even with the postponement of the draft and uncertainty surrounding it.
As an interesting aside, the Ducks drafted Ritchie 10th overall in 2014, the B’s got Heinen 116th, so that’s an interesting spread between two completely different players and pedigrees.
It’s tough to see a versatile, consistent Swiss Army Knife-type player like Heinen go, but Ritchie fits the Bruins mold and he was showing off some of the better parts of his game/package when everything came to a screeching halt.
We’ll see what the future holds for Ritchie, but he makes sense as a reclamation project-type who is signed beyond this season, is young enough to get his NHL career going into a higher gear and represents the kind of physical attributes the Bruins organization places a premium on. He’ll need to prove that he can put in the work and avoid the conditioning pitfalls that this extended work stoppage poses for him.
But overall- again- if Ritchie had been exactly the player envisioned to be worth a top pick, he would’ve been untouchable in Anaheim. That was not the case, so the Bruins now get a chance to see if they can make him into a more impactful NHLer than he’s shown thus far.
And of course, he can do this: