Date of Birth: July 1, 1993
Place of Birth: Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 210
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2011
The Orangeville native had expectations set extremely high entering the 2010-11 OHL season as most people predicted a break-out season for the budding power forward. Unfortunately, Ritchie struggled to gain consistency in his game as he experienced several interruptions throughout the season. Ritchie missed a month of OHL action because of a bout with mononucleosis and his absence occurred at one of the worst times as Ritchie was forced to miss the CHL Top Prospects game. Before the unexpected illness came about, Ritchie was on pace to score 30-plus goals which is what scouts were hoping for entering the season.
Like most young power forwards, Ritchie will need to learn to utilize his size and engage himself physically to dominate the opposition and reach his full potential. The large winger added about 15-20 pounds of muscle last summer and it was noticeable during puck battles along the half-boards. His skating stride is sufficient and he could stand to improve his first couple of steps but once Ritchie gets moving he has good speed and is difficult to contain. Ritchie has all of the attributes professional scouts like in a power forward with the size, shot, soft hands and a strong skating stride to work in the dirty areas of the rink. The biggest attraction with Ritchie is his ability to absolutely dominate along the boards and in the corners and if he is fully engaged physically he is a tank to move.
Scouts would love to see Brett utilize his size on a more consistent basis and develop a bit of a mean streak as well especially after seeing some of the fights he has been involved in. Ritchie possesses all of the qualities to become one of the bigger steals of the 2011 NHL Draft. If he puts in the work ethic to maximize his offensive skills then the kid has a lot to offer at the NHL level. It is not too often that a player owns the size, hands, shot and puck protection skills like Ritchie that could possibly slip into the second round. Brett admits that he likes to model his game after Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf (19th overall in 2003) and NHL teams would be thrilled if they selected a player who has the ability to dominate games physically similar to the Ducks’ star power forward.
Brett Ritchie is coming off an extremely successful World Under-18 Championship Tournament last month and after a disappointing season he is trending in the right direction. Ritchie notched 7 points in 7 games and was fantastic during the USA-Canada Semi-final game scoring two goals and an assist in the 4-3 overtime loss. Internationally, Ritchie has a lot of experience and seems to always step it up a notch in big games. Ritchie was also an instrumental player in his Canada winning the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
Next season, Ritchie will return to the Sarnia Sting to join his emerging superstar teammates Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk and he will be looking to prove that last season was an anomaly and not the norm. If history dictates anything, NHL scouts have a soft spot for drafting power forwards and Brett Ritchie is one of the better ones available in this draft class. It is quite possible that Ritchie could “sting” a few teams if they decide to let him slide too far.
Top Prospects Game: Ritchie was forced to miss the 2011 Top Prospects game as he battled with mononucleosis.
- Briuns 2011 Draft Watch’s Kirk Luedeke
“Big power forward prospect didn’t take the steps NHL scouts were hoping for, but is an intriguing project player because he does have a good deal of potential given his impressive size and good stick. He battled a slow start and a bout of mononucleosis in January, which forced him through a middle stretch of being less than 100 percent. Like many big men, his first step is sluggish and he doesn’t have quick turning ability or lateral agility in abundance. Once he gets going, his speed is fine enough, and with his size, he can be a load to contain. Ritchie is pretty strong on his skates, and like most power forwards, is a horse along the wall and down low. He protects the puck well and bulls his way to the net when he’s on his game. When not firing on all cylinders, Ritchie is out on the perimeter and not using his natural size and strength to grind it out and wear down defenses. The 6-3, 200-pounder scored 21 goals and 41 points in 49 games with the Sting this season. He’s not a huge thumper, but does use his body effectively enough to create some space for himself and his linemates. There’s a lot of raw untapped potential with Ritchie and our guess is that NHL clubs are hoping he slides in the draft to where he can be a steal.”
- Independent Scout Dan Sallows
“The first round pick (12th overall), in last years OHL Priority Selection, is a prototypical power forward. Which was perfect for a Sting club that was looking to get bigger. He is a physical right-winger, who skates well, dominates the boards, competes hard, and has decent hands to boot. Last season, while playing with the Toronto Marlboros minor midget team, Ritchie put up 36 goals and 69 points to go along with 67 penalty minutes in 71 games.”
- Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards
“He’s a big man who skates well … he has deceptive speed,” Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards said. “He’ll protect the puck and fight through checks. I’ve seen him score a few goals while coming in off the wing and letting go a great wrist shot. He’s most effective when he plays a physical game and is battling hard in front. He’s scored some goals by banging in rebounds in the low slot.”
- HockeyProspect.com’s 2011 NHL Draft Guide
NHL.com – Top 10 Right Wingers
DanSallows.com – Q and A with Sarnia Sting Power Forward Brett Ritchie
2010 World U-17 Hockey Challenge
2010 Ivan Hlinka Tournament
2011 IIHF World U-18 Championships
ETA = 2-3 years
Risk= 2.0-2.5/5 Reward = 3.5/5
Top-6 Scoring Winger
*See “One-Timer” section above
Puck Protection Skills
Hard, accurate wrist shot
Fights (if needed)
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Skating – Needs to improve first step and skating agility
Engaging himself physically more often
Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 7.5/10 Defensive = 7/10
NHL Player Comparison:
At his best:
- Ryan Getzlaf (lower upside)
More likely to develop into:
- Ryane Clowe, Todd Bertuzzi
- Brett Ritchie scores against Russia at World Under -18 (Bronze Medal Game)
Off The Iron (Interesting Notes):
- Brett’s younger brother, Nicholas, was selected second overall by the OHL’s Peterborough Petes in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection Draft
- Brett’s father, Paul Ritchie, played for the London Knights, Belleville Bulls and Guelph Platers of the Ontario Hockey League from 1980-1983 and was teammates with some great former NHLers – Kirk Muller, Marty McSorley, Basil McRae and Steve Smith.
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph
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