2022-23 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Date of Birth: Jul. 08, 2005
Place of Birth: Oakville, ON, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 165 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 27th (among NA skaters)
- Peter Baracchini’s April Rankings: 48th
- Logan Horn’s March Rankings: 88th
- Bob McKenzie’s Rankings: HM
- SMAHT Scouting: 57th
- Dobber Prospects Mid- Season Rankings: 48th
It was a tale of two stories for Nick Lardis in his draft year. Things didn’t get off to a great start for him with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, registering only 19 points in 36 games played. However, when the trade deadline came and he was moved to the Hamilton Bulldogs, that’s when many started to take note of his offensive and goal scoring abilities.
In the second half of the season, Lardis was given more of an opportunity to play to his strengths and succeed as head coach Jay McKee has stated. (from, ‘Hamilton Bulldogs’ red-hot winger Nick Lardis is making his point(s)’, The Hamilton Spector – 02/13/23)
He put up an impressive 1.39 point per game average with the Bulldogs and found the back of the net 25 times, 37 in total. He added an additional five goals and 10 points in the OHL playoffs and once the Bulldogs were eliminated, he joined Canada for the World U18 Championship where he kept lighting the lamp with four goals in five games.
Lardis is an interesting scenario as a player who has done everything to improve his draft stock. While the upside is there, there’s the need to improve his overall game.
There isn’t any doubt that Lardis is a highly talented and lethal goal scorer. He packs a powerful shot with great velocity and accuracy as that’s the first thing that stands out in his game. He’s great at creating space for himself. He reads the play very well and as soon as things open up, he continues to maintain that separation to receive a pass and release his shot. Defenders leave him wide open and he makes them pay as he’s always in position in front or at the side of the net and has the power to wire the puck on net.
When Lardis has the puck, he has great patience and good puck skills to draw defenders in and then makes his move to get to the prime scoring area. He’s got great awareness to anticipate plays and has good hands to make moves in tight on goaltenders. He is a strong skater, having the speed to maintain separation from defenders and is an accurate playmaker as well. Having all the offensive tools to succeed, teams would love to have that kind of skill.
While Lardis’ strengths are always on display, there are some areas where he can grow and improve on. There are times where he lacks the physicality and strength to hold his own, making him easy to be pushed off the puck. When engaging in physical plays, he can look to show more initiative and the willingness to be involved in puck battles. He has improved getting more involved, but he needs to show that consistently.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
While he excels in the offensive zone, he can always improve with his off the puck play and defensive zone awareness. He can look to be more assertive and apply more pressure on puck carriers and be more involved in the play. With this mindset he could be a strong transitional player from defense to offense.
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If he can look to round out those aspects coupled with his overall skillset, then Lardis’ stock will continue to rise.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Nick Lardis- NHL Draft Projection
Lardis saw a massive jump in Central Scouting’s rankings, going from 96th among North American skaters to 27th. Considering the jump in his play and production, it’s definitely a great sign that his stock has improved. Initially being a mid to late round pick, Lardis is now in second and third round territory. This would be a great spot to select him as he’s definitely a name that has generated some buzz heading into the draft.
“Lardis is a capable goalscorer with a set of diverse and well-above-average releases. He pairs this with multiple plus-level tools. His passing (when he scans for teammates), skating, and handling are all clear strengths as well. That said, Lardis is a diminutive winger who regularly gets physically overpowered and is quite passive on the defensive side of the puck.” – Sebastian High, Dobber Prospects
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“Lardis is always hovering around the offensive zone, looking to find a split second of open space to be open for a pass that will allow him to unleash a shot quickly. He plays at a high pace and can push defenders on their heels, which makes for the occasional highlight reel goal when combined with his slick hands.” – Jordan Malette, SMAHT Scouting
“He’s best used in the offensive zone as a goal scorer, as his scoring touch around the crease is advanced while also showing a capable snap shot that allows him to score from medium range.” – Brandon Holmes, FC Hockey
- Shooting power and accuracy
- Quick wrist shot
- Accurate passing
- Great speed and agility
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Physicality and strength
- Defensive game
- Show more engagement without the puck
With his offensive skillset, Lardis projects as a middle-six winger who can definitely find the back of the net consistently. With his shot and release, he would definitely be a target and asset on the power play and in a situation where you would need a goal. His upside and potential is definitely there, as he continues to develop and play to his strengths.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 3.5/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 7/10, Defense 5/10
Lardis participated in the CHL Top Prospects game, registering an assist and three shots on goal. He was also the sixth overall pick of the Petes in the 2021 OHL Priority Draft.