2013 NHL Draft Prospect Profile 39: Nicolas Petan
One of the top scorers for a loaded Portland club, we take a look of Nicholas Petan for one of our final 2013 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles!
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Date of Birth: March 22nd, 1995
Place of Birth: Vernon, BC (Canada)
Ht: 5' 9" Wt: 165 lbs.
On the one hand, Petan is a player who was under the radar for much of the last few years, but has earned a lot of attention thanks to his explosion onto the scene in Portland, not to mention a gold medal with the U18 Team Canada squad at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Ranked as the 33rd North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, it's not surprising that he's earned a lot of interest as we go into the final push for the draft.
On the other, Petan is a smaller, perhaps even "undersized" player who has had one very good season in the WHL on a loaded squad, but two seasons of otherwise very average performance. His skating is regarded to be excellent, and he clearly can be a playmaker.
In the offensive zone, Petan has shown to be a multi-dimensional threat coupling great vision and playmaking skills with a good wrist shot and quick release. He creates scoring chances for linemates, but can also be a finisher when they set him up. He has a very high hockey IQ and always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and to make smart plays with the puck on his stick. Petan works hard in the corners and the front of the net and shows a lot of fight and grit despite his size. He is not intimidated to go up against bigger and stronger opponents.
He is a very creative, instinctive offensive player, showing a knack for turning normal plays into scoring chances. He has the pace to play in tight spaces. Petan is certainly a small player, but that helps him with shiftiness, as he is difficult to check in open ice. He possesses a nice first step, and he can move at an above-average level. He has a quality shot, and despite his size, he shows decent defensive ability. His diminutive stature (between 5'8" and 5'9") is his only glaring weakness, and overcoming it will be a challenge. Scouts have described him as feisty in terms of the effort and battle he displays.
Why He'd Be A Good Fit In Columbus:
We've talked a lot about how the Jackets could use some more elite scoring talent. Petan certainly could fit that bill, especially if his draft stock dips because of concerns over his size. Unfortunately, that same concern over his size is why Columbus might decide to take a pass - the club has brought quite a few smaller guys into the system, and the lack of size is an issue the organization has felt they need to address. If they're trying to get bigger, it's tough to argue for a 5'9" guy, even if he might have top end scoring talent.
Petan In Action:
Video courtesy of Youtube user BigWhite06