All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Cristoval Nieves (C)
Height: 6’3 Weight: 184 Shoots: Left
Team: Kent School (HIGH-CT)
Country: United States
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 27 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
A speedster with a fair amount of potential as a playmaker, Nieves finished with seven goals and 39 points in 26 games with Kent in 2011-12, something of a disappointment after he got 11 goals and 28 assists in 22 games the year prior. He also had two goals and 10 points in 13 contests with the Indiana Ice of the USHL.
According to NHL.com, Nieves is committed to playing for the University of Michigan next season. That’s for the best as he’s probably not ready to make the jump to the NHL anyways.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, “Boo” is the short form of the “Bugaboo” nickname his parents gave him as a kid.
“Skating is Nieves’s biggest strength as his stride, acceleration, first step quickness and glide are all NHL caliber. He moves effortlessly on the ice and is able to converge on loose pucks as a result. Nieves played Prep School hockey this season so he was not overly tested.
“What was more alarming was his lack of offensive production in his sophomore season as he failed to add to his point totals from his freshman year; his goal production actually dropped. Nieves needs to assert himself more physically and compete harder in front of the goal and along the boards to generate his chances. He is a dimensional skater who passes the puck better than he shoots it.” — David Burstyn, McKeen’s Hockey
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