The Calgary Flames are pretty shy on right handed shots. Based on our criteria (Calder eligibility), only five righties were eligible for voting.
The first is the most recent addition to the prospect pool, Josh Nodler. The 6’0, 196lbs listed centre is a college bound prospect, looking to prove that there’s more to him than his USHL totals. He comes in at #19 on our rankings.
How did we get here?
Born in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, Nodler has been offence all the time as far back as the records go.
As a member of the Honeybaked organization, one of the more well regarded in US hockey development circles, he started to make a name for himself. As a 15 year old, he finished 15th in point per game scoring in the U16 High Performance Hockey League (HPHL), earning a scholarship from Michigan State and the 11th overall pick for the Fargo Force. Nodler improved as a sixteen year old, finished third in the same league in scoring while making four appearances for the US development team.
He made the jump this past season to the USHL, becoming of the leaders on a Fargo team that was heavy with veterans. He was selected by the Flames in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, 150th overall.
Stats, numbers, and everything therein
Nodler’s first and only USHL campaign was pretty successful for a rookie.
There were some bumps and bruises. Nodler began the season almost as perfectly as one can, picking up at least a point in his first ten games of the season, and had 20 points through his first 18 games. He had a bit of a drought after game 18, only picking up three points in his next seven games (all three coming on the same night). Nodler hit another fruitful patch immediately after, scoring 15 points in the next 13 games including a seven game scoring streak, but then hit the schneid again, finishing the season with five points in his final 14 games.
While Nodler’s numbers aren’t that inspiring at first glance, he was generally great at picking up primary points (35) and 5v5 points (31, 27 primary). He was a contributor on just under a third of all 5v5 Fargo goals, with 27% of those contributions being primary contributions. Even more impressive is that Nodler was on a team loaded with veterans, and was given extra trust despite his age. He was the only U18 Force member to crack 20 points.
Elsewhere, he was the USA’s leading scorer at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, helping lead the US to a silver medal while picking up a goal and six assists in five games.
— David Nestico (@davidnestico200) August 11, 2018
Those in the know
We went as close as we could to Nodler, asking Fargo’s head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux about Nodler’s 2018-19 campaign:
Josh was a top 6 FWD for our team all season and he played in all 5on5 & Power Play situations. Josh played on one of the top scoring lines in the USHL for most of the season. To Josh’s credit, we moved him to center the last 12 games + playoffs. His role & game grew in a lot of areas.
Here’s how the coach sees Nodler’s game, for better or for worse:
Josh’s skating needs to improve. Josh is quick but he lacks separation speed at this point in time. He needs to work on moving his feet with the puck on his stick. Josh is a very smart hockey player. He understands how situations within the game will play out. Josh also needs to work on his shot & finish around the net. Josh is a high end distributor and can make plays in tight areas, he just needs to round out his finish skills around the net.
On the horizon
Nodler is heading to the Michigan State Spartans next season to start his NCAA career. He’s joining a team that finished dead last in their conference, hasn’t had a winning record in five seasons, and hasn’t advanced to the Frozen Four tournament in over a decade. Needless to say, it won’t be smooth sailing.
Like most Flames college prospects, Nodler will probably spend at least three years in the college ranks before a contract is even up for discussion. He has enough promising offensive tools to potentially make his mark in the NCAA.
— USHL (@USHL) November 22, 2018
|#20 Lucas Feuk