Orangeville’s Nick Ritchie traded to league-leading Boston Bruins

February 27, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

While the National Hockey League’s  trade deadline on Monday (Feb. 24) was largely uneventful for most hockey fans in the GTA, one of Orangeville’s top exports could hardly contain his excitement after he was traded to Boston Bruins. currently the NHL’s top team. 

Hard-hitting left winger Nick Ritchie was dealt to the Bruins by the Anaheim Ducks quite early on deadline day. Selected 10th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Ritchie joins the Bruins following 4 1/2 seasons with the Ducks, putting up 43 goals and 66 assists in 287 games with the California-based outfit. 

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Ritchie touched on the emotion of being traded for the first time in his NHL career. While it was a bittersweet feeling for him being moved on from the Ducks, Ritchie feels he’s a perfect fit for the Bruins roster.

“This is the first time for me being traded, so it’s definitely a little different. I didn’t really know what to expect (coming into the room for the first time), but I was lucky in that I knew a few of the guys (on the Bruins roster),” Ritchie said. “It’s really exciting. They’ve been a great for so long. For me to come in and play for a first placed team, I’m just really excited to get going.”

While his first game wasn’t a particularly successful one for the Bruins as a whole – they were beaten 5-2 by Calgary Flames, Ritchie recorded a team-high seven hits while skating on the Bruins’ third line alongside Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork.

It was, perhaps, Ritchie’s willingness to use his gargantuan size – standing at 6’2”, and weighing 230 pounds – that attracted the Bruins in the first place. While the team has long embraced some of the darker elements of the game, they have struggled in recent years to replace the presence of Milan Lucic, who left the team ahead of the 2015/16 season. In Ritchie, the Bruins may have found a player capable of replicating that physical style, while also offering scoring potential.

“I think my style works and will help the team. I’m a big guy who drives the net, plays physical, wins battles and just brings everything that comes with playing big,” Ritchie said.

It wasn’t something that was particularly acknowledged during the media scrum on Tuesday, but this trade is a big deal for the Ritchie family for a whole other reason. For the first time since their days playing minor hockey together in Orangeville, Nick and Brett Ritchie will now have the chance to suit up for the same team. 

After spending seven years with the Dallas Stars, 26-year-old Brett signed a one-year deal with the Bruins last summer. So far this season, he has played 27 games with the Bruins, scoring two goals and adding four assists. His last game with the team came on Jan. 14, in a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he is no longer lining up for the big-league Bruins, Brett remains a part of the organization, representing their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. With 18 games to go in the regular season, there’s a chance the Ritchie brothers may find themselves on the same team in an NHL game for the first time. 

“I talked to my brother a little bit, and that would be a cool moment for sure,” Nick  said, when asked how he felt about the prospect of playing alongside his brother. 

The focus moving forward, however, is very much on preparing for a lengthy playoff run, which the younger Ritchie is hoping will result in a first Stanley Cup ring. The Bruins are among the favourites to win it all this season.

“Back in Anaheim, the playoffs weren’t really an option this year, so it’s nice to be able to switch gears and join a team where, hopefully, I’ll be on board for a long playoff run,” Ritchie said. 

Nick will be in the lineup tonight as the Bruins play host to Dallas Stars.

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