2019-20 Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs (#78)
Date of Birth: Dec. 4, 2001
Place of Birth: Klagenfurt, Austria
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 74th (Amongst NA skaters)
- The Hockey Writers (Fisher): 140th
- The Hockey Writers (Bell): 145th
- Future Considerations: 90th
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 92nd
After spending the 2018-19 season in Austria with Klagenfurter AC, Thimo Nickl made the trek over to North America after being drafted 51st overall by the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. It turned out to be a great decision by both parties as he put together an impressive season where he posted 10 goals and 39 points in 58 games. That ranked him third overall amongst rookie defenceman just behind Isaac Belliveau and teammate Jacob Dion.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Nickl’s biggest asset is his passing as he’s got great strength and accuracy on every type of pass imaginable. His skating and two-way game are also very impressive and he’s got a powerful point shot that generates rebounds more often than not. He played in all situations for head coach Steve Hartley and was one of the top producers on the power play amongst QMJHL defencemen with 19 assists. He was only behind two players in Belliveau and Darien Kielb who had 20 and 23 helpers respectively.
Nickl could become one of those low-maintenance defencemen who can play on both special teams, produce some offence and provide a complete game from the blueline. He’s also one of the rare right-hand shot defencemen outside of the first round. All in all, he will be a solid pick for the team that grabs him in the third or fourth round.
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In terms of his playing style, Nickl is a strong passer. His cross-ice, stretch, and bounces passes always seem to be accurate. His shot selection is quite sound and often times will generate quality rebounds on the power play. In the defensive zone, Nickl can be physical at times and will look to make smart backchecks along the half wall.Josh Tessler – Dobber Prospects
Tall with room for growth, he has good feet, showing mobility and agility. His shot continues to get better and on the defensive side he uses his reach, stick and feet to thwart opposing attackers. Not flashy just effective in his outlets and overall demeanor. Plenty of room the fill out his physique with muscle. Mobile and poised when he has the puck, there is long term upside displayed through his play.Bill Placzek – The Draft Site
Nickl’s ability to read the play and his gap control are simply outstanding. He was a key difference maker on the Voltigeurs blue line, logging significant minutes in every situation for Steve Hartley’s crew.Craig Eagles – theQMJHL.ca
Thimo Nickl – NHL Draft Projection
Nickl’s overall skill set and impressive debut in North America should get him drafted somewhere in the third and fourth rounds. The consensus has him projected to go in the 87-109 range, but it all depends on who is drafted beforehand. Regardless of where he ultimately gets selected, he could become a steal if his potential is realized.
- Two-way game
- Point shot
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Needs to fill into his frame
Nickl’s ceiling is a top-four defenceman who can play in all situations and be a threat from the point on the power play. Once he fills into his frame and improves his decision-making, he will be an invaluable member of a team’s blueline. Overall, his complete game and impressive passing skills should make whoever selects him very happy to add him to their pipeline.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 7/10
Nickl played for Team Austria in the 2020 U20 World Junior Championship in Division 1A and won a gold medal.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, editor, part-time journalist, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.