Jets Nation Prospect Profiles 2016: #4 Nic Petan


We are in the dregs of summer, so we take a critical look at the Winnipeg Jets organizational cupboards and highlight who we feel are the Jets’ “Top 20 Prospects” when looking at a combination of potential and probability of positive impact for the franchise.

We continue our prospect profile to the brilliant hockey mind that is Nic Petan.

Nic Petan

Age: 21 Position: C/LW
Height: 5’9″ Weight: 179 lbs
Draft Year: 2013 Round: Second

To say Nic Petan dominated the WHL would be an understatement. Over 252 games, Petan averaged 1.42 points per game as a de facto centre. In fact, Petan is in the top 50 of all-time WHL scorers, removing those with over 300 games to eliminate some players who played multitude of seasons prior to “The Dub” not having an age limit.

The 5’9 forward made the NHL as a rookie on the Jets’ fourth line that didn’t seem to have a clear role. The line had Petan playing out of position with a shutdown rookie centre in Andrew Copp and a past-his-prime, former pugilist, veteran Chris Thorburn. The line unsurprisingly did not do well; Petan was eventually sent down to the minors, with the forward carrying a 38.6 percent Corsi and -16.6 rel Corsi.

In the AHL Petan dominated on a struggling team. The player’s 0.702 points per game led the Moose for those who played 20 or more games by a large margin. Petan’s point per game pace relative to team scoring rate was the highest of any AHL rookie since the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, and was one of the highest for under-21 players in the AHL that season. Before being called up, Petan was even challenging for team lead in points, despite playing 20 fewer games than most.

After Petan returned to the NHL, he was placed more in a role fitting of the forward, with players that could receive his passes and often playing in his natural centre position. Petan’s numbers made a dynamic shift, posting a 55.0 percent Corsi and +9.15 relative Corsi. The before and after call-up numbers could not be more white-and-black.

Read More: Nic Petan is quietly having himself quite the season

Petan is a gifted player. His greatest asset is his ability to think the game. As one of the smartest players to hit the ice, Petan both defends and scores by knowing what players will do before those players even make the decision to do so. Petan wins puck battles before they start by getting to the areas where the puck will be just before the puck or the forechecker/defender gets there.

His elite IQ, vision, and passing combination makes Petan into a playmaker by typecasting, but he has an increadibly accurate wrist shot and can find small holes that goaltenders are inable to cover up. While small, Petan does not fear larger players. The 5’9 centre was infamous in the WHL for angering his opponents to the referree completely unaware of what occured.

Petan’s advantage with his ability to quickly read the game causes him to constantly try to slow things down, to a fault at times. This consistently slowing the game down causes many to think Petan as slow, while he actually has a fairly high top-gear and is increadibly shifty.

Read More: Undersized and Underrated: Chase De Leo and Nic Petan

According to the pGPS model, 132 skaters have had statistically comparable seasons at similar height and age to Nic Petan, where 42 of those went on to playing the NHL for more than 200 game careers. Even more interesting is that 34 of those 42 peaked as top-nine foreards, giving Petan both a high probability of playing in the NHL as a regular and with high upside.

We swapped Josh Morrissey and Nic Petan in our prospect profiles this year due to Petan successfully playing a stretch as a plus-player in the NHL while also being relatively speaking a better player for their team on the Moose, despite both seeming to be potentially very strong middle-of-the-roster players.

Jets Nation Prospect Profiles

    • jetsfanmike

      Pretty much agree, top 9 spot for sure IMO.

      At some point in the 2016/17 season, there will be an injury to a skilled top 9 forward and Petan will be called up. Then, while with the Jets, he’ll play so well that the team will be forced to sit / move another player once the injured player gets healthy again.

      • FishWhiskey

        I’m with you Mike.

        It’s a small data set but the one game that I saw at the end of last season where PoMo put Petan on the top line with Wheels and Scheif had me jumping out of my seat. The kid has the stuff and its just a matter of finding the best way to use it.

        I just don’t think that a lot of fans realize what a gem this kid is. I think they will find out soon enough though as he has overcome the “little guy” stigma at every level he has played and proved himself a stud.

  • Dr. Rocktopus

    Petan is the bomb. Can’t wait to see what kind of progress he will have made over the summer. Very bright future. I’m not saying it’ll happen for sure, but I think he may surprise some folks come training camp. Not as many safe spots on the roster as there used to be.

  • FishWhiskey


    2016- Jesse Puljujarvi
    2015- Tie-Sam Reinhart
    Nic Petan
    Connor McDavid
    2014- Teuvo Teravainen
    2013- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
    2012- Evgeny Kuznetsov
    2011- Brayden Schenn
    2010- Derek Stepan
    2009- Cody Hodgson
    2008- James van Riemsdyk
    2007- Erik Johnson
    2006- Phil Kessel

    Winning this title seems to be a pretty strong indicator of NHL success.

  • Eddie O rules!

    I figure the Jets could start the year with four two way contract players on the roster. 1 is Ehlers, 2 is Laine, 3/4 is Connor, Dano, Petan. So one less spot then the number of players listed if you are keeping count. There is also a strong possibility that it is only 3 spots as the 4th would likely be on the 4th line and that player might be better off in the AHL.

    Garret it would be nice to know some projected point totals for these guys. I’ve read (from you I think) that Laine should have NHL comparibles around 25 points, but with lack of data for Liiga players we can probably expect Ehlers like numbers (40p), despite being a year younger. Connor, I’ve also read, projects to about 40p. Dano is older and has put up pretty good numbers in the NHL already, if he got Ehlers like deployment what could be expected? 35-40p? Based on Petan’s WHL/AHL/NHL numbers what could be expected of him? 35-40p?

    Obviously there’s likely only one, maybe two, of those players that will get the full on support that Ehlers got, but its pretty interesting that the Jets have 4 rookie/almost rookies that could realistically be expected to put together an Ehlers like season next year. And its pretty interesting that as hyped as Laine is, there’s probably three other guys that could be expected to perform just as well next season if they didn’t have him (obviously these guys will have different career projections in future seasons though).

  • FishWhiskey

    I really think that this is the year Petan deserves to be on the Jets as he has paid his dues. He needs to playing with skilled players not slugs like Thorburn. He has speed and vision that you can’t coach. I would like to see him center a line with Liane and Conner. That would be a great line of speed and skill. I doubt Maurice would do this as he is conservative and wary of playing rookies together. Its Petan’s time to play.

    • jetsfanmike

      One line possibility I’ve considered was Petan centering Connor & Ehlers assuming Laine moved up to play with Scheifele & Wheeler.

      This way, Perreault & Little with either Stafford or Armia would match up against the other team’s top line.

      IMO, the way Petan processes the game at such a high speed paired with his fantastic passing skills would make him playing with two skilled & speedy wingers like Connor & Ehlers a real problem for other teams, especially when they matched up against bottom pair defensemen.