Toronto Maple Leafs Draft: The Case For Nicolas Meloche


In my last Toronto Maple Leafs Draft profile, I wrote about another QMJHL player, Dutch-born sniper Daniel Sprong. Now, I will profile another late first round early second round draft prospect from the “Q” – right handed two-way defenceman Nicolas Meloche of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

Hailing from Lasalle, QC – Nicolas Meloche has climbed his way up the ladder and has landed onto NHL teams draft wish list, and it’s tough to ignore the 6’2″ 192 lbs grit when on the ice.

Meloche played his Bantam year in AA Trois-Lacs Eagles Bantam team where he began to develop his gritty play. He played a shutdown game versus other teams top lines, and while doing so recorded two goals and four assists for six points in 28 games played.

The next year brought Meloche into his midget draft year, and locked up a spot on the AAA Saint-Eustache Vikings of the QMAA. Meloche exploded with offence, as he put up great numbers for a defenceman, as he scored nine goals and assisted on 17 for 26 points in 38 games played. The Vikings clinched a playoff berth and appeared in one playoff game where he recorded one assist. A while later, Meloche was then 15th overall, (two spots behind Daniel Sprong), by the Drakkar.

2013-2014 was Meloche’s rookie season, where the Drakkar wasted no time showing him off. Logging top four minutes late into the year, Meloche finished off his campaign with a respectable six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in 54 games played. Over those 54 games, the 16 year-old was a +/- of 15, helping his team into the playoffs and enroute to a deep playoff run.

The Drakkar won their way all the way to the QMJHL Championship, but lost in game seven 4-3 to Val-d’Or Foreurs and ran into a hot goalie that goes by the name of Antoine Bibeau – a Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending prospect.

During the playoff run, Meloche recorded eight assists in 22 games played – gaining much needed playoff experience, a lot more than most defence man entering the draft. His rookie campaign was so stellar he was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie team.

In August, Meloche represented Canada at the U-17 Ivan Hlinka Tournament where he won a gold medal and scored one goal while adding an assist for two points in six games while impressing Hockey Canada.

During Meloche’s sophomore and NHL draft year this year, he continued to play a big part of the Drakkar’s defence corps, logging big minutes and putting up points. While missing 20+ games due to an injury, he recorded career highs in each statistical category, 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 assists in 44 games which helped the Drakkar’s return to the playoffs, seeking a championship win.

After getting by the Saint John’s Sea Dogs in the first round, Meloche and his squad were eliminated in game seven yet again by the Foreurs by a score of 4-3. Meloche netted four goals and six assists for 10 points in 12 games.

Meloche has proven he can play big minutes and a solid two way game while putting up points. The scouting report on Meloche according to is that he is a smooth skating defenceman who puts up points, utilizing his strength behind his shot, and plays with an edge of grit.

Has very good awareness on the ice, and notices possible scoring chances before they happen. Very intelligent defensively and makes high percentage decisions in his own end with a physical two way game.

How Meloche would fit into the Maple Leafs system is plain and simple: A physical right handed two way defence man who is responsible in his own end and intelligent, something the Leafs lack on the back end. Meloche would look good in the future alongside Jake Gardiner if he stays or Morgan Rielly. Either way, he is a top defence man and may actually be available when the Leafs pick in the second round. Keep an eye on Meloche when the draft opens on June 26 in Florida.

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