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Prospect Files: Nathan Pancel


For this week’s prospect file we take a look at a player who has taken the ice time that his head coach has given him the past few months and ran with it. We head north, to the Nickel City, to look at head coach Trent Cull’s rookie forward, Nathan Pancel of the Sudbury Wolves.

The Line:

Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 182 lbs
Shoots: Left
Plays: Left Wing
Draft Eligible: 2012

During last year’s playoff run past the powerhouse Ottawa 67’s, an unfamiliar name for Wolves fans was added to the lineup. Nathan Pancel, who’s CCHL Gloucester Rangers had just been eliminated from playoff competition, was brought in to provide some scoring depth. He played just 2 games, recording 0 points, but you could tell that there was a player in there.

This season, in training camp, he left no doubt leaving camp in the team’s top 6 forward group. Pancel has proven to be an offensive presence, scoring 37 goals and 62 points in just 59 games playing as a 16 year-old rookie in the CCHL.

This season he has proven that those numbers are far from a fluke collecting 20 goals and 15 assists in 55 games in his rookie season in the OHL. His point production he also really picked up in the second half as he has received more ice time and has played with the top players on the Wolves’ roster.

Pancel’s strengths are in his skating and his net awareness. He can really get flying down the wing and can cut to the net with authority. He will also pay the price in the corner, along the boards and in front of the net where loose pucks seem to find his stick.

The part of Pancel’s game that people don’t hear about is his pest-abilities. They are very underrated. He does a terrific job getting under the opposing team’s skin and making them take penalties. He isn’t a super pest but he is very far from soft, which people don’t expect given his size.

There are some weaknesses to his game, but this is not unexpected given that it is his first year playing the major junior game. He can get a little lost in the neutral zone. You can see him missing passing lanes and not filling gaps when the other team is coming in transition. He has already improved on this from the beginning of the year and he will get even better as we move into the playoffs and towards the draft.

Pancel could be a sleeper pick in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft but I would expect him to move up a lot of teams’ draft boards as we move into the Ontario Hockey League post season.

NHL Player Comparison: Kris Versteeg – Florida Panthers

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