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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Nicolas Meloche

BSN Denver Avatar
June 10, 2015

 

Get to Know Nicolas Meloche

Date of Birth: 7-18-97
Place of Birth: LaSalle, QC, CAN
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 205 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Defense
Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)

Nicolas Meloche established himself as a two-way defenseman early in his career, and his talent was noticed as he was selected in the first round (15th overall) by Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft.

He immediately made an impact on the team, providing solid defense while contributing offensively with 6 goals and 19 assists for 25 points in 54 games. He continued to do well in the playoffs with 8 assists in 22 games. His performance landed him a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie Team.

His draft season was even better as he put up 34 points (10g, 24a) in 44 regular season games and 10 points (4g, 6a) in 12 playoff games. Unsurprisingly, he played in the CHL Top Prospects Game that year. Meloche also suited up for the Canada U18 team at the Hlinka Memorial tournament, taking home gold in the process.

Statistics

What Scouts See

Bill Placzek

Usually young defenders who display strong two way game don’t come with a full package and toolbox. Not so here. He is player who is strong positionally but also displays mobility and strong physicality. Already mature in his understanding of his position. He takes attackers to the outside, with good gaps and timing. Retrieves many of those pucks and quickly advances them with quick outs. Reads the outlets and is precise in his passes, causing odd-man breaks at the other end. Is developing as pointman on the PP. Will walk in along the wall to open things, and is also starting to walk the blue line to set up the attack on the PP. A big man with excellent mobility. Looks destined to go early.

Elite Prospects, Curtis Joe

A smooth skating defenceman who can put up points, utilizing his strength behind his shot, and plays with an edge. Has very good awareness on the ice, and notices possible scoring chances before they happen. Very intelligent defensively and makes high percentage decisions in his own end. When at the top of his game, Nicolas Meloche can be a game-changing, physical two-way defenceman.

What BSN Avalanche sees

While just an average skater, Meloche is surprisingly mobile for his size and very difficult to push around. He’s extremely efficient with his movement, oozing calm and confidence. He uses his body to separate his opponents from the puck, pursuing them doggedly along the boards.

Meloche has a clean pass and makes smart decisions with the puck. While he’s not afraid to pinch in, he does the most damage from the point with a strong shot that sets up the forwards for tip-ins and rebounds.

Meloche is not really a puckhandler, though he can move through traffic as he sees the ice so well. He plays in all situations and is a heads-up, two-way player with the ability to slow the play down around him.

Highlights

NHL Potential

What you see is what you get with Meloche. He has a no-nonsense style that would compliment the bottom four of any NHL roster. Meloche won’t ever be a Norris candidate, but he could develop into the kind of defenseman a team looks to for consistency and stability. He’s much like Jan Hejda in that sense: not flashy, but dependable.

Expected Draft Position

Meloche looks to be a mid- to high-second round pick. It’s unlikely he’ll either make it to the first or drop into the third.

How Nicolas Meloche Fits in Avalanche Organization

Meloche is kind of like a Diet Duncan Siemens. While his skillset is similar to Siemens, none of it is quite as good. It might be nice to add this kind of player on the right, but Meloche is not the guy to take in the second round. In the unlikely event he drops to the third round, the Avs might consider him, but the cupboard on right-handed defensemen is stocked enough that there will be better options than Meloche for filling holes in the roster in the second round.

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