At the trade deadline the Bruins made a move to add some physicality to their forward group. The Bruins sent Danton Heinen to the Ducks for Nick Ritchie. Ritchie was the 10th overall pick back in the 2014 draft. At 6’3” and 234 pounds Ritchie brings some much-needed size to the Bruins forward group. The playoffs are always known for being a more physical game, and Ritchie was brought in to help the Bruins wear teams down.
Ritchie had an impressive final two seasons in the OHL. In the 2013-14 season he would play in 61 games scoring 39 goals and 74 points. Ritchie would improve on these numbers in the 2014-15 season,scoring 29 goals and 62 points in just 48 games. The Ducks wasted little time getting him to the AHL. In the 2015-16 Ritchie played in 38 AHL games, scoring 16 goals and 30 points.
So far Ritchie has yet to carry over his scoring touch to the NHL. Now in his fourth NHL season, Nick only has a high of 14 goals scored back in the 2016-17 season his first full year in the NHL. The good news is Ritchie just had his best season points-wise last year. Playing in just 60 games Ritchie set a new career-high with 30 points. So far this season Ritchie has played in 41 games with just 8 goals and 19 points. Ritchie does bring a more physical game to the Bruins, having topped 200 hits twice already in his career. So far this season he only has 86 hits, but did have seven in his first game for the Black and Gold.
Ritchie clearly has the potential to be a force in the NHL as a power forward. His time with the Ducks has raised questions about his effort and if he will ever realize his potential. Playing on a Bruins team with championship aspirations and a strong locker room will hopefully bring the best out of Ritchie. The Bruins also don't need him to be what the Ducks were expecting when they drafted him. This team has plenty of scoring talent, and hopefully taking some of that pressure off of Ritchie allows him to find his grove and grow as a player. Being the 10th overall pick brings lofty expectations that perhaps were too much for Ritchie. Sometimes it just takes a change of scenery to bring out the best in a player. We don't need Ritchie to be the second coming of Neely. Being a solid middle six-wing who can score 10-20 goals with around 40 points in addition to his physical play will make this a worthwhile addition. With the Bruins in action, tonight Ritchie will get a shot on the second line with Krejci. After he turned Lucic into a 30 goal scorer and revitalized Iginla anything could be possible if the pair sticks. Keep checking back for all the latest news on all your favorite Boston teams.
Featured image courtesy of Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG