Nicolas Kerdiles, Center (Left)
United States National Team Development Program
1/11/1994 6'1" 196 Pounds, 1/11/1994
An all-situations forward who works hard every shift...competitive and athletic forward with very good hands...high hockey IQ...anticipates well and makes quick decisions...fundamentally a sound skater, especially directionally, but lacks some explosion in his first step that would make him even more dangerous...sees the ice well...inserts himself into the thick of things...strong presence down around the net and goal line...willing to sacrifice- block shots, take hits to make plays, battle along the boards...quick release on his shot...varying opinions on his upside- some see top-6, some see third liner...either way can be counted on to be a solid defensive player...can try and do too much with the puck, eschewing the simple play...can be inaccurate with his shot...covers for teammates and capable of closing down passing lanes...
Isolation video of Kerdiles, courtesy of Reel Hockey Scouting
Why Kerdiles at 7?:
Dan: I saw Kerdiles when the USNTDP came to Mankato to play the Mavericks in late December for an exhibition, and the California native was the best player on the ice for either team. Playing against older and stronger competition, he repeatedly created plays, defended well, and generally drove play when he was on the ice. That's what sold me on his abilities...and made me lament that he's going to terrorize the Golden Gophers for the next few years as a member of the Wisconsin Badgers. I later saw him in Dubuque and although he was pretty quiet for the most of the game, he made a play to spring the game winning goal in overtime- he has that sort of ability. He's extremely hard working, and competes- and always seems to have succeeded in international tournaments as well- in the gold medal game at the U-18's he had 5 points. I believe he's got top-6 potential; maybe not 1st line, but I think he's awful similar in nature to Kyle Brodziak, with some better offensive gifts. And Minnesota would have the luxury of watching him develop at one of the best NCAA programs in the country, basically in their backyard.
Nate: From talking with those who have watched Kerdiles at the USNTDP and followed the California native since he committed to Wisconsin in February 2010 (choosing the Badgers over North Dakota, Michigan and Denver), the best piece of advice I got was that he does the little things which don't show up in the statsheet. Nic does that too, scoring 5 points in the U-18 Gold Medal Game, but the blue-collar work effort is something that pays off well. That's a guy you want in the system and the type of players Minnesota fans (ironically enough) really seem to appreciate.
In a lot of ways Kerdiles reminds me of Johan Larsson - they even share the breakout performance in the U-18s and play in all three zones as either a center or wing. That may not be the most intriguing prospect for an organization which is drafting 7th overall and has replenished their top-9 prospect depth. However if the opportunity arises or if a move is in the cards, Kerdiles fits in well with Minnesota. Even if he's going to Wisconsin.