It’s not hard to feel overshadowed if you’re a member of the Portland Winterhawks.
The team boasts first round pick Derrick Pouliot and second rounder Ty Rattie. Tyler Wotherspoon, plucked in the second round as well, joined Rattie on Canada’s entry at the World Junior Championship. Brendan Leipsic leads the Canadian Hockey League in scoring with 103 points.
On top of that, the team has Seth Jones – the 2013 NHL Draft’s top-ranked prospect, can casting a large shadow.
But Portland Winterhawks’ teammate and fellow draft eligible Nicolas Petan is grabbing some of that spotlight for himself. Leading all Canadian Hockey League draft eligibles in scoring with 101 points in 60 games, the 17-year-old is giving scouts another reason to trek to Portland to take in some draft action.
Not that Petan – the reigning Future Considerations draft eligible Forward of the Month – feels overshadowed by Jones to begin with.
“He just helps me and he’s not stealing the spotlight,” said Petan, who has 41 goals on the year.
It’s tough to feel overshadowed when second in Major Junior in scoring. Petan’s point totals, already nearly three times the production he had in his rookie season in the Western Hockey League, is something even the Delta, BC product couldn’t have imagined coming into his draft year.
“I wasn’t really expecting it,” the five-foot-nine, 166-pound centre said. “I wasn’t thinking about it too much but I mean, it’s always nice to be there but I never really thought about it.”
It’s more than Petan’s production that has Future Considerations’ WHL scout Zenon Herasymiuk impressed.
“Petan really understands how to be successful as a smaller player,” Herasymiuk said. He is able to consistently evade contact and dart to open scoring. In addition to being an exceptionally smart player he has a good motor and is responsible on the defensive side of the puck as well.”
Petan is learning that a scout’s positive praise can’t get to his head, nor can the lulls that come with battling through his most important season of hockey to date.
“You’ve just got to stay positive,” he said. “You’ve just got to stay positive and stay level, not be too high or too low.”
Having both Jones and Oliver Bjorkstrand to both help keep him level and share in the experiences of a draft season have done nothing but aid in Petan’s successful season.
“Great experiences,” he said. “They’ve really helped me through the year. It’s always nice to have them around.”
And share in the draft spotlight.
With files from Zenon Herasymiuk