Photo Credit: Sergei Belski- USA TODAY Sports

Prospect wrap up: Riley Bruce and Nick Schneider

Since Tuesday, we’ve been recapping the seasons of some of the Flames’ most interesting prospects. We’ve looked at Tyler Parsons, potential goaltender of the future. Dillon Dube, a young and exciting centre. Eetu Tuulola, a goal-scoring teddy bear. Matthew Phillips, a tiny workhorse.

And here are, unfortunately, the less exciting prospects. There always has to be honesty when writing these wrap-ups. Some prospects just don’t have a chance. They can be easily replaced by next year’s draft, or a shrewd UFA signing. That’s just the reality of hockey.

So here are the seasons of Riley Bruce and Nick Schneider, guys we probably won’t hear much more about.

Riley Bruce

A brief history

Bruce has always been a defensive defenceman, as indicated by the 40 points he’s racked up across 294 games and seven seasons (48 points and 345 games, if you count playoffs). He’s made his name in the OHL for his defensive skills, which are greatly helped by the fact that he is 6’7″.

2016-17 performance

GP-G-A-P Primary Points 5v5 P1 NHLe
41-1-5-6 5 3 3.84

Bruce’s season actually ended in mid-January when he sustained a shoulder injury during a fight. He did not play after that.

It can be argued that it is hard and/or pointless to measure defensive defenceman by NHLe, but the counter-argument is that the position is going out of style (or we at least miscategorize what a defensive defenceman should be). The game is changing, and someone with Bruce’s skillset is less likely to make it in the NHL. His 3.84 NHLe shows that. You simply can’t have a player who might put up only single digits points in today’s NHL.

Final thoughts

The decision on Bruce was made in the seventh round of the 2016 draft. Besides handedness, Stepan Falkovsky is pretty much the same thing, except with an offensive game. Falkovsky scored 21 goals this year, which is 15 more than Bruce scored in his entire career going back to age 13. Add on the fact that Falkovsky already has a year of pro under his belt, and it’s pretty much game over for Bruce.

I liked what I saw from him based on my limited viewings, but unfortunately, there are already better prospects in the system.

Nick Schneider

Brief history

The surprise from training camp 2015 was signing Nick Schneider. It was a minor shock to see an invite with unimpressive numbers walk away with a contract. Perhaps there was more to him than what met the eye. After all, goalies are tough to predict. If what the organization saw in him was right, he could be found money.

Things have been less promising since. In 2015-16, Schneider did not improve even after being handed the starter’s net, and a brief stay with Stockton didn’t go too well. He started shaky (~.850 SV% for October and November) but finished strong. Perhaps there was just a bit more left in the tank.

2016-17 performance

The big story with Schneider was his crazy win-loss record, which was 32-11-2-1. He ranked sixth across the whole league.

I didn’t track week-by-week SV%, mostly because the variance is usually too minor to make good analysis of, plus the fact that the end number takes into account a very large sample size.

However, if I did, the line graph and rolling average would not look favourably on Schneider. He began the year around the above average numbers of .915-.921 range and dropped all the way down to 0.886 when it was all said and done.

Of the 46 other goalies who faced at least 300 shots this year, Schneider ranks 35th. If we up that number to 1000 shots, starter workload numbers, Schneider ranks 23rd out of 25. Not good.

As a result, he lost his job as a starter. Schneider has only played twice in the month of March, once as a relief appearance lasting just under nine minutes.

Final thoughts

Schneider’s probably going to be back in junior as an overager, and that’s not a good sign. He hasn’t improved from the time he was signed, and has appeared to take a step backwards.

It’s hard to see where he fits in the organization as well. Tyler Parsons, David Rittich, Jon Gillies and Mason McDonald are four contenders for three spots (one NHL, two AHL). If he can’t win the battle for Medicine Hat’s net, he is realistically not going to win any of the battles with the professional players.


Tyler Parsons, Eetu Tuulola, Matt Phillips, Dillon Dube, Adam Ollas Mattsson, Linus Lindstrom, Pavel Karnaukhov/Rushan Rafikov, Tim Harrison