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Scouting the Winnipeg Jets 2017 NHL Draft: Nicolas Hague prospect profile

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Nicolas Hague posted impressive numbers in the OHL last year. Would he be a fit with the Winnipeg Jets?

Erie Otters v Mississauga Steelheads Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Synopsis:

Depending on who you ask, Nicolas Hague is either an adequate or a poor skater. In watching the limited film I have seen of him, I would say that he skates just fine for a prospect of any size or stature, let alone one who stands at 6’6”. His 18 goals in 65 games are very strong for a defenceman and he is often tasked with playing on the power play and penalty kill. Additionally, he is frequently tasked with shutting down the opposition’s top talent and has done so admirably throughout the 2016-17 season. He has both a quick release and a heavy shot which allow him to find seams in traffic and get pucks on net. Hague is a fearless forechecker and is comfortable inserting himself in the rush when an opportunity presents itself. As evidenced by his heat map provided below, Hague does the majority of his damage from the top of the circles down which isn’t exactly common for a defenceman. Nevertheless, he has become a trusted member of Mississauga’s blue line as well as one of their assistant captains.

Scouting Report via Jeff Marek:

Plays in all situations, can anchor a PP. Some scouts think skating still an issue, others not that concerned about his feet. Very poised, well controlled now.

Fun Fact:

Hague is right-hand dominant but shoots left- handed.

Why a fit with the Winnipeg Jets:

Again, like Juuso Valimaki before him, it should be noted that Nicolas Hague is a left-handed defenceman which is perceived by many (Note: I do note share in this perception) to be the pipeline that Kevin Cheveldayoff need to cultivate tout suite. Furthermore, at 6’6”, he has the size that Winnipeg brass normally covet in a blueliner. Lastly, Hague managed to score 18 goals last season and an additional 14 goals the season before that. His offensive game is what scouts have widely raved about and he’s strong enough defensively that he could round out into a top four defenceman. I believe all these traits could make him alluring to Winnipeg given where they sit on the draft board.

Cons to the selection:

For whatever reason, be it real or imagined, Hague’s draft stock is said to be tumbling as of late. He has slid from CSS’s 11th ranked North American skater during their midterm rankings to now ranking 20th. There are some who believe Hague might be on the board into the second round and could potentially be a good value selection for anyone willing to roll the dice on him during the second day. Some critics say he’s not the strongest puck mover, and again, depending on who you ask, some say his skating needs major refinement. Whether or not he reaches his full potential, the belief is that Hague will take a few years to develop his game. While the same can be said about others in this draft class, this coupled with his plummeting stock might lead to looking elsewhere at the thirteenth pick.

Career Statistics

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM
2012-13 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Mn Mgt AAA AHMMPL 2 0 0 0 0
2013-14 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Mn Mgt AAA AHMMPL 31 3 13 16 44
Playoffs Kitchener Jr. Rangers Mn Mgt AAA AHMMPL 18 4 13 17 24
Kitchener Jr. Rangers Midget AAA AHMPL 3 1 1 2 0
2014-15 Kitchener Dutchmen GOJHL 43 3 8 11 70
Playoffs Kitchener Dutchmen GOJHL 10 3 9 12 20
Canada White U17 WHC-17 5 2 0 2 4
2015-16 Mississauga Steelheads OHL 66 14 10 24 84
Playoffs Mississauga Steelheads OHL 7 0 2 2 13
Canada U18 WJC-18 7 0 2 2 4
2016-17 Mississauga Steelheads OHL 65 18 28 46 107
Playoffs Mississauga Steelheads OHL 18 1 11 12 19
www.prospect-stats.com

Highlights: