OHL centre Calum Ritchie already feels like a Calgary Flames draft pick

Photo credit:Brandon Taylor/ OHL Images
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
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Over the past decade, the Calgary Flames have seemingly developed a type of player they covet when it comes to the annual NHL Draft. They like centres. They like right shooting players. They’ve developed a tendency to look towards Canadian major junior hockey quite often, with many of their most prominent youngsters coming from the Western, Ontario or Quebec junior circuits.
In several ways, Oshawa Generals forward Calum Ritchie is the most Flames-y of the potential first-round selections.

Scouting report

A product of Brampton, Ontario, Ritchie is a January 2005 birthday. He’s a right-shot centre who’s listed at 6’2″ and 187 pounds.
He worked his way up through Ontario minor hockey and has spent the past two seasons with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.
In April, Dobber Prospects’ Jordan Harris wrote this scouting update:
This hasn’t been the offensive breakout season many expected of Calum Ritchie this year as he finished the season with 59 points in 59 OHL games. Despite the underwhelming (by his standards) season from a production standpoint, Ritchie is still a big C prospect who skates quite well, with a lot of tools that grade out above average. He is an effective distributor of the puck who makes slick passes to hit his teammates in stride. He also boasts good speed to carry the puck up the ice and successfully enter the offensive zone. He’s tenacious on the forecheck and will challenge opponents with his combination of size, speed and compete level. Ritchie missed time with a shoulder injury late in the season but was able to play in the playoffs. He was not at 100% when returning to the lineup as he was not taking faceoffs and was avoiding contact. Still, Ritchie performed well against the 1st place Ottawa 67s in the first round of the playoffs putting up 6 points in 5 games, despite the injury. Ritchie is a player who has fallen down draft boards this season, however, he could very well ascend if he can regain his form in the U18 World Championships.
(Spoiler: Ritchie was third on Canada in scoring during the U18s.)
As part of their final draft rankings, Ben Jordan added this report for Smaht Scouting:
Ritchie is one of the smarter players in this class, and that’s what puts him into the first-round conversation for us. He is committed to the defensive side of the puck and uses his pro-sized frame to make plays under pressure to break out. When at his best offensively, Ritchie uses his stickhandling superbly to get past defenders and create space for himself. As his game evolves, we would like to see more moves to the inside, and movement from east to west.
In short: Ritchie is a reliable all-around player. He moves well. He defends well. He scores consistently. He’s big. He’s a right shot centre. He thinks the game well. There’s some questions about whether he’s got any elite-level attributes or not, but he doesn’t seem to have any glaring holes in his game.

The numbers

During the 2022-23 season, Ritchie had 24 goals and 59 points over 59 games.  He had another six points in five playoff games. He was tied for 56th in points, tied for sixth among under-18 players. He was tied for 57th in goals, 10th among under-18 players.
Playing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup for Canada, he had 10 points in five games en route to a gold medal. He led the tournament in assists and points.
At the men’s Under-18 World Championships, he had nine points in seven games en route to a bronze medal.

Availability and fit

The Flames had two different players named Ritchie on their team last season. If nothing else, this would make things easy for the equipment staff. But joking aside, Ritchie meets a lot of their positional needs and preferences. He’s a versatile, useful young centre who can play in all three zones. He’s already got NHL size. He’s a right shot. The big knock on him might be that he feels like “safe” pick rather than a high-ceiling, home-run swing. Compared to others in this class, there’s not a big boom/bust proposition with him. He’ll probably be at least a reliable, consistent NHLer. Could he be more than that? Depends on if he can develop a high level attribute among his rock-solid ones; his all-around attributes provide a really solid developmental floor for him.
In terms of availability, Ritchie seems like he’ll be on the board when the Flames select at 16th overall. He’s ranked 26th by FC Hockey, 24th by McKeen’s, 29th by Sportsnet, 24th by Daily Faceoff, 19th by Scott Wheeler and 27th by Corey Pronman. He’s a consensus first-rounder and is expected to go somewhere in the back half of that round, it’s just a question of where during the round he goes.

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