Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Returning Winterhawk Profile: #19 Nicolas Petan

(Editors Note: In the countdown to the Winterhawks season opener against Seattle on September 19th, I am looking at each returning player, individually).

Next up (in numerical fashion): #19 Nic Petan

Born: 3/22/1995
Hometown: Delta, British Columbia
Position: Center
How Acquired: 1st Round (16th Overall) Bantam Pick in 2010

NHL Drafted: Winnipeg Jets 2nd Round Pick (43rd Overall) in 2013. Signed on 12/31/2013.

-2010/11(As a 15 year Old): 3 Games Played, 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 1 Point, +1, 0 Penalty Minutes.
              Playoffs: 7 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, 0 PIMs.
-2011/12: 61 GP, 14 G, 21 A, 35 Pts, +7, 22 PIMs.
              Playoffs: 22 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, 4 PIMs.
-2012/13: 71 GP, 46 G, 74 A, 120 Pts, +68, 43 PIMs.
              Playoffs: 21 GP, 9 G, 19 A, 28 Pts, 16 PIMs.
-2013/14: 63 GP, 35 G, 78 A, 113 Pts, +47, 69 PIMs.
              Playoffs: 21 GP, 7 G, 21 A, 28 Pts, 38 PIMs.

-Petan took a huge step forward in the 2012/13 season, jumping from a 4th line 16 year old with 35 points, to a top line Center, playing with Brendan Leipsic and Ty Rattie on his wings, on his way to 120 pts and a tie for the WHL scoring title. This got him drafted by Winnipeg, despite his lack of size (5'9" 173 lbs then; now 175 lbs). No matter which level he has played at, so far, he is an elite play-maker, whose primary attributes include: stick-handling, skating and on ice vision. He really sees the plays before it happens and this top notch offensive ability will surely see him play at the NHL level, as soon as next year. He played point on the power play last year, but seems more at home on the half boards, where he can get a clear look at passing back to the point; across the middle or down low in front of the net. He had a 4 goal game against Saskatoon, last season, where he got a majority on the PP. An underrated area of his play, is his elite defensive awareness and shut down ability.

He needs to improve down in tight spaces, where larger D-men can use their size to push him off the puck. I'd also like to see him shoot more, as he has a wicked shot and sometimes looks to pass, almost to the teams' detriment. Another area that needs improvement is in the faceoff circles, where he was abused repeatedly by Ryan Olsen in the Western Conference Final and Curtis Lazar in the WHL Final. I never hear about an injury late last season, but if Petan was fighting through something I would not be surprised, as he only scored 8 goals over his last 38 total games and seemed to not be as impactful on the ice. Petan will now be counted on even more and his team cannot afford for him to have these scoring "droughts," as his high amount of offense is expected when it matters.

Petan was named Co-MVP last season for the Hawks and was a first team Western Conference All Star, He finished 2nd in WHL scoring, behind Spokane's Mitch Holmberg.

-With him playing top line Center at the recent Penticton Young Stars Tournament, near his hometown, Petan showed what he could do and impressed everyone watching. He had a goal (the over time winner) and 2 assists Saturday vs. Vancouver and an impressive shoot out goal in Monday's win over Edmonton. His advanced stats were even more evidence of the impact he has at all areas of the ice.

He will attend Winnipeg Jets main camp, which starts later this week and should see some extended play in the NHL preseason. Just how long, he will be out of the Winterhawks lineup, is anyone's guess, but it is likely he will not return until early October. He will also, assuredly, miss time playing for Canada in the U-20 World Junior Championships, where he will be relied upon to be a leader as a 19 year old.

It should say something about how great Petan is, that WHL pundits still are favoring him to win the WHL scoring title. Petan should also move himself up the Winterhawks, all time scoring lists. He currently sits 15th in total points at 269 and with an "average" season for him, he could vault as high as 4th. He also sits 9th in Assists with 174 Assists and with another 70+ assist season, he could get as high as 3rd all time. If this were not his last season in Portland, it's fair to say that he could make a run at the Winterhawks records in both these categories.

Petan will be slotted in as the #1 Center for the Hawks (no surprise) and will be heavily relied upon in all aspects of the game. It will certainly be fun to see him for one more season in a Winterhawks sweater.

Previous Returning Winterhawk Profiles: Tyson Predinchuk, Keegan Iverson, Adam De Champlain, Chase De Leo, Paul Bittner, Josh Hanson, Ethan Price, Anton Cederholm, Brendan Burke

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