OHL Prospect Profile: Nathan Villeneuve
– Nathan Villeneuve –
Navan Grads U18 (HEO) | Centre | 2022 OHL Draft Eligible
Ottawa, ON | 6′, 180lbs | April 13th, 2006
If you’re searching for a competitive, highly skilled and detail-oriented two-way centre, look no further than Nathan Villeneuve of the Navan Grads U18. As one of the top prospects eligible for the 2022 OHL Draft, Villeneuve has consistently maintained a 2.0+ points per game pace despite playing against opponents as much as two years older than him in the HEO. A lethal force on the rush and in the offensive zone, as well as a centre committed to securing his defensive end in the process, Villeneuve is unquestionably a highly talented OHL prospect of immense potential.
- High-End Speed
- Puck Protection
- Shot Release and Accuracy
- Hockey Sense and Awareness
- Two-Way Game
The strengths present within Villeneuve’s game are seemingly endless, as the youngster is capable of flourishing regardless of the situation he finds himself in on the ice.
First and foremost there is Villeneuve’s impressive skating ability — the skill set which serves as the foundation of his game. Capable of accelerating to top speed in a few short and explosive strides, Villeneuve is impossible to catch when his feet are moving. This elite separation speed allows Villeneuve to create time and space for himself in the offensive zone, whether it be on the rush or in the midst of the cycle. Further, Villeneuve combines his exceptional edge-work with his raw strength while in possession of the puck, an ability which allows him to shield and protect possession for his team on a regular basis.
Villeneuve is undoubtedly at his most dangerous when at top speed on the rush. Owing to his short and quick shot release, Villeneuve can easily overpower opposing netminders and has the ability to pick corners with remarkable consistency. And, don’t be surprised to see Villeneuve unleash the occasional slap shot — he owns a heavy one which he enjoys to hammer on goal from distance. Rounding out Villeneuve’s impressive game are his hockey sense, commitment to playing a two-way game, ability to kill penalties and quarter-back the power-play, and his willingness to mix things up physically. A determined back-checker committed to defending his own zone, Villeneuve will regularly strip opposing players of the puck or block shots for his team when needed. And, given his strength, don’t be surprised to see Villeneuve throw a massive hit from time to time.
Areas for Improvement:
When it comes to Villeneuve, there aren’t any major areas of his game which would do well to be improved. As it stands, Villeneuve brings an exceptionally well-rounded game to the ice each and every night — the reason why he could very well be selected first overall in the 2022 OHL Draft. As Villeneuve continues to develop his game, adding additional strength to his frame will only bode well for him in the long-run, and especially so as he transitions to the major-junior level. Although already a strong and solid player, adding greater strength should allow Villeneuve to become an immediate impact player in the OHL in his rookie campaign.
The sky truly is the limit for Villeneuve, whose game is already incredibly calculated and detail oriented. One current NHL star who comes to mind when watching Villeneuve play is Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche. Like MacKinnon, Villeneuve is an incredibly competitive centre who thrives off of his lower-body strength and excellent skating abilities. And, like MacKinnon, Villeneuve boasts a quick and deadly shot and the innate ability to make his fellow teammates better with each passing shift.