So far this year, Ritchie is engaging more in the physical play and going to the dirty areas. On the forecheck, Ritchie is very good at separating his opponent from the puck and being able to secure the puck. From this point Ritchie is virtually unstoppable as his puck protection skills are outstanding. He utilizes his long reach and big frame to protect the puck and his head always remains up as he looks to make a play. One of Ritchie’s greatest strengths is his shot. He has arguably one of the hardest wrist shots in the OHL and his deceiving release makes it difficult for goalies to read.
This year I have also noticed Ritchie has made a point to get more shots to the net. Another improvement I have seen in Ritchie’s game this year is his skating. His first step has improved substantially and he appears lighter on his skates making him more agile. I have seen multiple times this year Ritchie make a nice move on a defender creating more space and time for himself.
Obviously playing alongside his former minor midget teammate Ryan Strome helps his game and his statistical production, but given the opportunity Ritchie has earned, his confidence is at an all time high. It is clear confidence plays a huge role in any athlete’s performance and Ritchie’s high confidence level has helped him improve his game-to-game consistency. Ritchie is truly the definition of a power forward which makes for an intriguing NHL prospect. Ritchie’s performance thus far has gained the attention of many people including Hockey Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships and the Dallas Stars organization. I personally believe Ritchie will need a year or two of years at the AHL level to improve his game before making the leap to the NHL.
• Puck Protection Skills
• Size and strength
• Hard, accurate wrist shot (quick release)
• Defensively responsible
• Forcing passes
• Game-to-game consistency
• Playing physically more often
NHL Comparison: James Neal