2020-21 Team: Shawinigan Cataractes
Date of Birth: January 23, 2003
Place of Birth: St-George’s, QC, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 205 pounds
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 101st (amongst NA skaters)
- Zator’s Top 100 for April (THW): Not Ranked
- Baracchini’s Top 100 Rankings for March (THW): Not Ranked
- Bob McKenzine (TSN): 76th
Olivier Nadeau is not a top-10 pick. He is, however, a player that every NHL team would love to have on their roster. Although not high on draft boards, he can be a special player who excels at everything on the ice but is not elite at any one thing. What’s noticeable when he plays is that he can do so much without doing much of anything. He has everything needed to be a top-tier player in the NHL. The question is, where does he end up on draft night?
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Nadeau is special because he does everything well. He plays a 200-foot game and wreaks havoc on every inch of ice. He began his career as a goal-scorer but has transformed his game to become a very good all-around forward. He is a versatile player who can play in any situation and is also very consistent. He has the ability to adapt quickly and make his teammates better.
He now plays for the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL on their top line with 2020 NHL draft pick Mavrik Bourque and Xavier Bourgault, who is also draft eligible. The trio has become quite the production line, with none of them taking the lead. This season, Nadeau has recorded 13 goals and 32 assists and 28 penalty minutes. He was also a plus-11 in 34 games while leading the team in assists, points, and penalty minutes.
Nadeau, a right-wing power forward, has been a model of consistency, going no more than two games without a point. After being taken fifth overall in the 2019 QMJHL Draft, he set high goals for himself and the team. He performed well to his standards, but Shawinigan did not fair as well, finishing in the last place in the Central Division.
What people often miss in Nadeau’s game is his high hockey IQ and his offensive awareness. He can take a simple, broken-down play and turn it into a highlight-reel goal. His talents have made his teammates better and the team more successful as a result. He is usually one step ahead of the play in all three zones and makes plays others simply cannot. He does not take a game off, which will help him at the pro level. His high compete level keeps the opposition on their toes, knowing if they make a mistake, he will deposit that mistake in the back of their net.
While boasting an Alexander Ovechkin-heavy shot, he also has an underrated passing game. He uses those tools on the power play and penalty kill and plays on both regularly. Nadeau can be a solid setup man if the opposition takes away his shot. He can adjust to the style that fits him best and makes him successful. There is nothing Nadeau cannot do, and he is more than a scoring machine.
He wins board battles thanks to his solid 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame, and he uses that frame to keep the opposition off the body, to protect the puck in the offensive zone, and to create offensive chances whenever he is on the ice. Nadeau’s tank of a frame also keeps the opposition to the outside in the defensive zone.
His overall play is worth noting. Nadeau has a relentless forecheck that creates turnovers and offensive opportunities for his teammates. He thrives in all aspects of the game. Scouts have noticed his offense but have failed to compliment his defensive game, which has improved considerably. Although he is a straight-line skater who needs to improve on his lateral movements, he makes up for it by using his creativity in the offensive zone. His skating style is not close to Connor McDavid; however, he can use that disadvantage to his advantage. Skating more slowly allows his linemates to get open with their speed, and he finds them with his great on-ice vision.
Nadeau uses his hockey IQ to play a smart, complete game, and he seems to predict the play before it happens. This talent will only get better, regardless of where he plays in the NHL, and expect him to come alive in the playoffs, where he has continually been clutch and played lights out. He can do it all, and he is projected to go in either the third or fourth round. Do not be surprised if an NHL team trades up to acquire his services. He oozes talent and would be a welcomed addition to any club. His overall game has greatly improved just for this moment.
Olivier Nadeau – NHL Draft Projection
Nadeau is expected to be a fourth-round selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. A top-nine two-way winger is a good projection for Nadeau and seems to be where most scouts slot him in. He can play in all situations and is electric when he is on his game. He can be successful even if his minutes are limited or when he has little space. Being on a line with a former draft pick has helped prepare him for this moment. He has some sandpaper in his game if the opportunity presents itself. He looks to be a diamond in the rough because of his skill-set and where he is projected to go. Do not let his lack of blazing skating speed fool you, as Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille was not a fast skater, and he turned out to be one of the best forwards in NHL history with over 500 goals.
- Scores goals from in tight
- Always around the net
- Underrated passer
- Big body
- Consistent scorer
- Liability on defense
- Needs work on skating speed
Nadeau has the potential to be a very good top-six forward, and a good complementary piece to a roster. One thing going for him is, as mentioned above, his versatility, and he can play anywhere. His skill-set and determination can offset his slower skating to play above expectations. He can play with a superstar on the top line or make his teammates better on the second or third line. Not only is he dangerous with the puck, but he is equally dangerous without the puck. As his potential increases, he may be taken earlier than expected.
- 2018-19 CWG Champion
- 2018-19 QGC-16 Champion