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Scouting the 2017 NHL Draft: Nicolas Hague would be a huge addition on defense

The towering blueliner would add size and a little skill to the Lightning’s defense

Erie Otters v Mississauga Steelheads Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Nicolas Hague is a large young man. His bio lists him at 6’6” and 220 lbs, and he is only 18-years-old so there is room for him to get larger. The Kitchener, Ontario native also happens to play defense for a team in the Ontario Hockey League. The Lightning have a need for high-end defensive prospects in their system. It seems like all the signs point to General Manager Steve Yzerman calling his name if he’s still available with the 14th pick.

Hague saw a jump in his offensive game over the last season. After putting up 24 points in 66 games for the Mississauga Steelheads in 2015-16, his production jumped to 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 2016-17.

While Hague is a large human, he isn’t a huge hitter. That again plays into the type of player the Lightning seem to lean towards. Victor Hedman and Andrej Sustr are never going to be compared to Ulf Samuelsson when it comes to playing a physical game. If Hague can use his size to block passing lanes and close down open spaces rapidly, then he’ll fit right in with the Lightning’s defensive scheme.

For his size he has become a competent skater, but at least one scout is concerned about his ability to move quickly within his own zone,

“My concern is his feet. He’s fine in the open ice, going north-south. My concern is what he does in tight spaces with little shifty guys giving him trouble. Anyone he lays the body on is shut down, but it’s the chase that gives him problems.”

While he is not the missing piece in the Lightning defense (unless he magically becomes a right-handed defender overnight) it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play an important role on the second or third pairing. He could become the player that the organization wants Sustr to be.

Statistics:

Nicolas Hague Statistics

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
2012-2013 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Mn Mgt AAA AHMMPL 2 0 0 0 0
2013-2014 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Mn Mgt AAA AHMMPL 31 3 13 16 44
Kitchener Jr. Rangers Mn Mgt AAA OHL Cup 4 3 0 3 12
Team ALLIANCE OGC-16 5 0 1 1 4
Kitchener Jr. Rangers Midget AAA AHMPL 3 1 1 2 0
2014-2015 Team Black U17-Dev 3 1 0 1 4
Kitchener Dutchmen GOJHL 43 3 8 11 70
Canada White U17 WHC-17 5 2 0 2 4
2015-2016 Team Red U18-Dev 3 0 0 0 4
Mississauga Steelheads OHL 66 14 10 24 84
Canada U18 WJC-18 7 0 2 2 4
2016-2017 Mississauga Steelheads OHL 65 18 28 46 107
OHL All-Stars Jr Super Series 2 0 0 0 2
Stats provided by eliteprospects.com

Table via Elite Prospects.

Highlights: