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Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25: #8 Nicolas Petan

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The Arctic Ice Hockey Top 25 Under 25 is here! Read this article to continue your path to enlightenment!

Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Rank

DOB

Drafted

Pos

Allan

Andy

Philip

Daniel

Ryan

Cara

Ian

Brian

Tim

8

1995/03/22

#43, 2013

C/LW

5

10

9

11

11

8

8

9

6

Previous Rank: 10th

Nicolas Petan had a pretty good year, producing 89 points in 54 games with the Portland Winterhawks and winning gold with Team Canada at the World Juniors. After years of watching him from afar, Jets fans will be able to see him up close and personal in 2015-16, as he plays with either the big club or the Moose.

At  5'9'' and 172 lbs, Petan is a petite player that packs a punch with his slick hands and high hockey IQ. I think that if Petan wasn't as small as he is, most fans and media members would be writing his name on the lineup in ink rather than pencil. But after playing these past four years against boys, it's time to see if he can replicate the same kind of magic against men.

Stats

AIH Authors' Thoughts

Andrew:

Skillful and intelligent, I have him one slot ahead of Andrew Copp. The only thing I have against this player is his size, and for that I think Andrew Copp will see more Jets time than Nic will this year. I'm on the fence here regarding Nic Petan playing a regular role this year.

Brian:

I think Nic Petan has the potential to be an absolute stud, definitely the biggest "boom or bust" type player on this list. If he fulfills his potential, a line with Petan, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers could be absolute dynamite together.

Ian:

If Petan was 6-2 I'm sure everyone would consider him a lock for the team this year. He has unbelievable hands and hockey IQ, which showed as he still put up a ton of points on a Winterhawks team that was a shell of itself from the year prior. More than likely, he's on the Moose so that the team can see how he plays against grown men. Maybe an injury bug brings him up.

Outside Sources:

Franklin Steele, Bleacher Report:

Despite his small stature, all Petan has done is score truckloads of points everywhere along the line. The point totals are no fluke—this is a kid that can flat-out play. His offensive instincts are downright impressive, and he plays much bigger than his 5'9'' frame would indicate.

He's not afraid to go to the dirty areas to score goals, but that's not where Petan is at his best. He's a beast when you give him a little time and space, and it doesn't take him long to kick it into high gear when he skates through the neutral zone. 

His acceleration is well above average, and Petan has a cannon for a shot. The release is excellent, and he's capable of firing off pucks at a dangerous velocity from anywhere on the ice.

While the NHL is a skill league, bigger players still tend to run the show. Petan has some serious obstacles to overcome to get there, but he has all the talent needed to be an effective top-six forward at the pro level.

The Hockey News:

Assets: Is a supremely gifted playmaker with plenty of creativity and setup skills. His intelligence goes a long way in all three zones. Competes very intensely, even against much bigger opponents.

Flaws: Is quite small and thin, so he must get bigger and stronger in order to maximize his scoring output at the highest level. Is only an average skater, too, so he may struggle to produce as a pro.

Potential: Creative, yet diminutive playmaker with good upside.

Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports:

In the offensive zone, Petan has shown to be a multi-dimensional threat coupling great vision and playmaking skills with a good wrist shot and quick release. He creates scoring chances for linemates, but can also be a finisher when they set him up.  He has a very high hockey IQ and always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and to make smart plays with the puck on his stick.  Petan works hard in the corners and the front of the net and shows a lot of fight and grit despite his size.  He is not intimidated to go up against bigger and stronger opponents.

Petan has also shown to be a reliable defensive player and often contributes on Portland’s penalty kill unit.  He anticipates plays well and causes turnovers.  His good hockey IQ allows him to steal pucks and transition quickly form defence to offence.  He will of course need to bulk up to play in the NHL, and a transition to wing (like many smaller players) may eventually be in his future, but he does have the skills to succeed.

...potential wise, Petan is a real boom or bust type prospect.  If he can overcome the size question, he could be a top line forward in the NHL.

Video:

Summary:

With his skill set, Petan should be able to become a top 6 forward with the Jets in the future. How many years in the future is the question. This year? The next? His size is what is holding him back in the eyes of almost everybody, but there have been plenty of players short in stature who have made great careers in the NHL, so the issue could very well be overblown. Everyone should be rooting for him to succeed, because he would make a huge impact on this team if he hit his ceiling.

Thanks for reading, and please leave your thoughts in the Comment section below!