2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Ryder Ritchie

Photo Credit INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION (IIHF)

The Scouting Report

Ryder Ritchie, from Alberta, Canada, was elected as the 14th overall pick in the 2021 WHL draft and has quickly risen to become one of the premier scorers for the Prince Albert Raiders. Following his recognition as the OHL Rookie of the Year for the Raiders in a previous season, he started the 2023-24 season with comparable success.

He showcased his talent at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup by scoring 3 goals and accumulating 9 points in 5 games and played a pivotal role in Canada’s Gold Medal win. He continues to perform consistently, maintaining a point-per-game average in the current season. After 47 games with Prince Albert, he has amassed 44 points – 19 goals and 25 assists.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #23 by INSIDE THE RINK

Ranked #27 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM

Ranked #21 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE

Ranked #32 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON

Ranked #19 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

Ranked #27 by SPORTSNET/COSENTINO

Ranked #28 by SPORTSNET/BUKALA

Ranked #36 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY

I have highlighted some of Ryder Ritchies’ attributes, let’s take a deeper dive into those attributes and areas of improvement.

Hockey IQ

Ritchie is a winger renowned for his adept playmaking abilities and exceptional puck-handling proficiency. His expertise lies in safeguarding the puck and emphasizing strategic positioning throughout the playing zones. Ritchie demonstrates a keen awareness of maintaining appropriate puck distances and providing crucial support for his linemates. Noteworthy is his impeccable posture for handling the puck, he is always emphasizing the importance of establishing solid body positioning before he assumes control of the puck.

Skating

Ritchie showcases remarkable speed, agility, and dexterity. Renowned for his determined skating technique, Ritchie navigates the ice with precision, strategically placing himself for optimal performance. He proactively generates opportunities and effectively converts them into scoring chances. His skill in deceiving opponents frequently leads to the creation of passing options and scoring avenues, benefiting both himself and his team members.

Prospect Potential

During the U18 Worlds in Finland, Ritchie again demonstrated his solid two-way play while representing Team Canada. He showcased his offensive skills with precise one-timers and demonstrated defensive expertise with a much stronger physical presence. Among the score leaders, he ranked 11th in scoring during the IHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship earning eight points (4g, 4a), including one powerplay goal.

Ritchie’s keen situational awareness was even more evident in the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Gold Medal game against Team USA. He strategically maneuvered the puck and was able to slice the puck past the American goaltender, Nicolas Kempf, equalizing the score in the game which ultimately led to Team Canada’s victory.

“While his point totals didn’t develop at the speed of others, Ritchie is a high-ceiling player whose playmaking and skating give him an intriguing offensive toolkit. He will need time to develop, but with the right steps, there is legitimate reason to believe he can be a top-six winger at the NHL level.”

Rachel Doerrie – ESPN 

Areas of Improvement

Ritchie’s defensive capabilities are respectable, but some time spent refining them would be advantageous as he works towards a higher level of play. All the necessary skills are present; however, it is possible that there has not been an opportunity or sufficient experience to refine this specific area with Prince Albert. If he honed his skills in this particular area even further, he will undoubtedly become a key player for any NHL team that drafts him.

Final Thoughts

Ritchie’s impact is felt throughout every shift, from the puck drop to the final buzzer, he has a commendable work ethic and strong forechecking skills. He remained fully engaged in each game, continuously moving and with purpose, even when the game seemed one-sided. Ritchie’s remarkable speed and skillful skating are evident, with a smooth and powerful stride that allowed him to effortlessly work around the offensive zone, waiting for the perfect moment to take a shot. When the opportunities arose, Ritchie released the puck with speed and keen precision.

He is expected to be an exceptionally versatile player in the NHL, adept at making valuable contributions on the power play, and penalty kill, and has tremendous potential to become a leading scorer. Possessing a well-rounded skill set, Ritchie demonstrates a profound hockey IQ, coupled with adept footwork and skating abilities, helping to establish him as a formidable skater to be reckoned with.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials.

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