By Eldon MacDonald
69. Nick Cousins - “Cinderella Guy” - C - Canada
2010-11 Stats: 68-29-39-68-56-(-14) + U18 7-4-4-8-10-(+3)
50 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
52 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
69 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
86 -The Scouting Report's Top 100
91 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (71st North American skater)
94 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
68 - Philadelphia Flyers
If Nick Cousins were a debutante like Cinderella, the U18’s would have been his coming out ball. If Nick Cousins didn’t have any suitors before the U18’s, they are plenty of teams eyeing him now. It didn’t start out to be this way. Nick Cousins went to the U18’s as an extra clean up guy like Cinderella and his teammate, the highly rated Daniel Catenacci, was supposed to be the first line star. However, after the exhibition games, somehow it was Nick Cousins who was on the first line and eventually went on to lead the Canadian team in points for forwards (tied with Scheifele) at eight in seven games plus leading the entire team in plus-minus with a plus three.
Before the U18’s, Nick Cousins was barely an after thought in Sault Ste. Marie, a wee forward (many sites listed him at 5’9 150 lb. and he looked it) that barely caused an eyebrow to raise on the hardy scout who braved the winter weather of Northern Ontario to get to the Soo in order to admire the exploits of the higher rated Daniel Catenacci and the amazing progression of Ryan Sproul after Christmas (I have driven to the Soo in the winter when it was snowing and it is no fun). After the U18’s, most are looking at Nick in a different light. Instead of the negatives (size, defense, play without the puck), teams are starting to see the positives a Nick Cousins can bring to a team - clutch scoring, leadership, vision, hands, playmaking, skating, peskiness, drive. As his General Manager, Dave Torrie said, - http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/marks...the-radar.html - “Nick is the most popular player in our room and has leadership qualities rarely seen in a young player" - nice praise indeed.
Where does Nick Cousins go in the draft? Good question!!! If a team thinks that Nick has the skills and scrappiness to offset his lack of size and that he will be able to add enough strength to play in the pros, I can see him going off the board in the third - however, players his size (5’11 170 lb.) even after strong U18 performances have being known to drop (think Toni Rajala dropping to the fourth round in 2009) to where a team feels the risk-reward factor is more in balance. Good luck Nick!!!