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FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2019: #19 Josh Nodler

The Calgary Flames are pretty shy on right handed shots. Based on our criteria (Calder eligibility), only five righties were eligible for voting.

The first is the most recent addition to the prospect pool, Josh Nodler. The 6’0, 196lbs listed centre is a college bound prospect, looking to prove that there’s more to him than his USHL totals. He comes in at #19 on our rankings.

How did we get here?

Born in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, Nodler has been offence all the time as far back as the records go.

As a member of the Honeybaked organization, one of the more well regarded in US hockey development circles, he started to make a name for himself. As a 15 year old, he finished 15th in point per game scoring in the U16 High Performance Hockey League (HPHL), earning a scholarship from Michigan State and the 11th overall pick for the Fargo Force. Nodler improved as a sixteen year old, finished third in the same league in scoring while making four appearances for the US development team.

He made the jump this past season to the USHL, becoming of the leaders on a Fargo team that was heavy with veterans. He was selected by the Flames in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, 150th overall.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

Nodler’s first and only USHL campaign was pretty successful for a rookie.

Games Played Goals Assists Points
54 17 25 42

There were some bumps and bruises. Nodler began the season almost as perfectly as one can, picking up at least a point in his first ten games of the season, and had 20 points through his first 18 games. He had a bit of a drought after game 18, only picking up three points in his next seven games (all three coming on the same night). Nodler hit another fruitful patch immediately after, scoring 15 points in the next 13 games including a seven game scoring streak, but then hit the schneid again, finishing the season with five points in his final 14 games.

While Nodler’s numbers aren’t that inspiring at first glance, he was generally great at picking up primary points (35) and 5v5 points (31, 27 primary). He was a contributor on just under a third of all 5v5 Fargo goals, with 27% of those contributions being primary contributions. Even more impressive is that Nodler was on a team loaded with veterans, and was given extra trust despite his age. He was the only U18 Force member to crack 20 points.

Elsewhere, he was the USA’s leading scorer at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, helping lead the US to a silver medal while picking up a goal and six assists in five games.

Those in the know

We went as close as we could to Nodler, asking Fargo’s head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux about Nodler’s 2018-19 campaign:

Josh was a top 6 FWD for our team all season and he played in all 5on5 & Power Play situations. Josh played on one of the top scoring lines in the USHL for most of the season. To Josh’s credit, we moved him to center the last 12 games + playoffs. His role & game grew in a lot of areas.

Here’s how the coach sees Nodler’s game, for better or for worse:

Josh’s skating needs to improve. Josh is quick but he lacks separation speed at this point in time. He needs to work on moving his feet with the puck on his stick. Josh is a very smart hockey player. He understands how situations within the game will play out. Josh also needs to work on his shot & finish around the net. Josh is a high end distributor and can make plays in tight areas, he just needs to round out his finish skills around the net.

On the horizon

Nodler is heading to the Michigan State Spartans next season to start his NCAA career. He’s joining a team that finished dead last in their conference, hasn’t had a winning record in five seasons, and hasn’t advanced to the Frozen Four tournament in over a decade. Needless to say, it won’t be smooth sailing.

Like most Flames college prospects, Nodler will probably spend at least three years in the college ranks before a contract is even up for discussion. He has enough promising offensive tools to potentially make his mark in the NCAA.

Previously

#20 Lucas Feuk

  • cjc

    This: “Josh was a top 6 FWD for our team all season and he played in all 5on5 & Power Play situations”

    somewhat contradicts this:

    FlamesNation August 3, 2019 – A closer look at Josh Nodler: “…but he was generally not used in heavy PP/PK roles as the team relied on him heavily at 5v5.”

    I know it’s nitpicking for a 5th rounder, and the USHL doesn’t keep TOI stats, but I wonder what the more accurate statement is, thinking the coach is probably a reliable source though?

    • The comment in the closer look article was an inferred observation. Fargo scored 44 powerplay goals, while Nodler had only seven powerplay points. To put it in perspective, Fargo had two players with 21 powerplay points. Nodler was tied for eighth on the team in powerplay scoring, with five other forwards ahead of him. Not scientific, but based on the general correlation between ice time and scoring, it’s fair to guess that Nodler was not used on the powerplay often, or was at least not a first unit player. There’s always the chance he did see a lot of powerplay time, but if that’s the case, he is pretty ineffective on the man advantage, which seems out of character given his strengths elsewhere.

      Of course, his actual coach probably knows a bit more (the USHL doesn’t keep a public video archive so there’s no way of really knowing) than we do, but I don’t think that quote is in depth enough to really judge how much ice time he saw. I simply read it as “he plays the powerplay.”

      Hope this helped

  • MDG1600

    So are all the 2019 picks miraculously top 20 prospects? Seems heavily biased towards the recent picks who haven’t had a chance yet to prove where they fit in the professional world. Players like Spencer Foo and Morgan Klimchuk were considered top prospects in previous FN lists. Their prospects ranking started tanking the minute they started playing professional hockey in the AHL and we all found out they weren’t as good as we hoped. Kind of a long winded way of saying it is probably unfair to the Glenn Gawdins and Ryan Lombergs of the world to be ranked behind kids like this.

    • The Iggy complex

      Yea that’s how it works in all professional sports. They start off ranked higher because of potential then when three prospect moves up a tier and struggles they fall off the ranking chart.

    • Albertabeef

      @MDG Let’s be fair to Lomberg, he is the same age as Janks and Mony and they will all be 25 by Dec31st. Lomberg’s AHL stats are almost identical the last 3 seasons and he probably will not get any better heading forward. I hate to say it but at best Lomberg is a “fill in” player if someone gets injured. I can see him going to Europe in a couple seasons.

      As for Gawdin, he may have been 21st. He likely fell back a bit in rank when he had the same production as a kid who was a year younger, 6 inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter.

      Also its a vote thing. Some people just don’t see the way other do. Take it with a grain of salt. Especially the kids in the lower ranks, it only takes one writer’s vote to jump a spot or 5.