Nicholas Baptiste did not start skating until the
age of 6, which is very late by hockey standards. Despite starting late, he has
turned out to be one of the fastest skaters in the Ontario Hockey League and he
could possibly be the fastest among draft-year forwards.
During his minor midget days in Ottawa, Baptiste was
a pure goal scorer. He scored 22 goals and posted 33 assists. However, he is
still trying to translate those numbers to major junior hockey.
On a veteran-loaded Sudbury Wolves team, Baptiste
earned just 27 points in 64 games, but scored 19 of those points after January
Regardless of the numbers, Baptiste plays a very well
rounded game. He uses his 6'2", 200-pound frame to his advantage.
He can be found crashing the net and using his frame
to create offensive chances. Moreover, he is not afraid to get physical.
The Ottawa native is one of the youngest forward in
his draft class. This might play to his advantage because he is still trying to
find his stride in the OHL.
Baptiste has returned to Sudbury for the 2012-13
season and he has not gotten off to the start scouts had wanted.
In 9 games, Baptiste has collected zero goals and
three assists. Obviously, Wolves head coach Trent Cull would like to see some
improvement in his goal totals, as would Baptiste.
Another area of the game that he could improve upon
is his defensive abilities. Any scout or coach would tell you that an NHL player
has great offensive and defensive abilities.
Overall, I see Baptiste as a second or third round
pick. His skill set is decent and his potential is great. If he can realize his
true potential, he could be a dominant junior hockey player and a quality NHL
On Thursday's edition of the Prospect Preview,
Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Boone Jenner will be talked about.