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Nicolas Meloche was a key depth defender for the Calgary Wranglers

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Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
11 months ago
Nicolas Meloche came to the Wranglers from the San Jose Barracuda in 2022-23 and was a part of their inaugural season roster. The regular blue liner was typically found playing on a line with Yan Kuznetsov on a third pairing. He would also rotate out and rotate partners with some of their other defensive depth to get guys like Josh Brook in the lineup. Here’s how Meloche’s season looked in Calgary.

By the numbers

Regular season

Number 38 in the Wranglers sweater played in most of the regular season match-ups skating in 64 games. He matched his career-best season in points with 21 total. The last time he achieved this was his sophomore season in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles in 2018-19. He had a personal best in assists last season with 17 and scored four goals. 
His +/- rating was his career-best with a +18. As one of the older guys on the team, he joined the group of veteran players that helped build up a winning culture. With a group of rookies just getting their feet wet in the AHL, it was very impactful for this team to have guys with relevant experience in the league. 
This past season also got him a little more fired up than in previous years with his PIMs being at a career-high of 66. His next closest year was his rookie season where he had 59 minutes. 

Post-season

In the playoffs, Meloche didn’t exactly earn as much time as he historically had in regular season games. He only played in five of the nine Wranglers games and became a bit of a liability in the big games against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. He did not have any points in the games he did play in.
His five post-season games consisted of four games against the Abbotsford Canucks and then only one game against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. His position for the rest of the run was unfortunately replaced by Kristians Rubins and Josh Brook. Rubins especially, coming to a team as a new addition and putting up an average of a point every second game as a blue liner was tough to keep up with. 

Next season

Nicolas Meloche signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Calgary Flames last summer and so far into this off-season, he remains unsigned. He’s one of those players that doesn’t hurt to have on your roster, but could very well be someone that is picked up by another organization. There is a chance you will not see him with the Wranglers next season. 

Rating

Meloche may have had a bit of good goaltending on his side to avoid exposing some of his downfalls on the blue line. Dustin Wolf frequently bailed out the defenders last season and acted as an extra defender down in the Wranglers zone. Regardless, Meloche earned playing time for the majority of the regular season and for his efforts down the depth chart I give him a C rating. 

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