Nick Ritchie stands over opposing player while being called for a penalty.
Photo credit: YLE

Former top-ten draft pick throws brutal sucker punches at opponent

Published December 29, 2023 at 12:43
As a prospect, many fans and analysts around the NHL had high hopes for Nick Ritchie. He was drafted tenth overall by the Anaheim Ducks in 2014 and was touted as a high end power forward - one of the most valuable commodities in the NHL. Instead his career never really took off, he fizzled out, and is now playing overseas after not being able to secure a NHL contract this offseason.

Now playing with Karpat of the Finnish Elite League, Nick Ritchie may have shown some of his frustrations when he carried out a vicious attack against an opposing player. When pinned against the boards, Ritchie grabbed the other player by the neck and forced him to the ice, then delivered brutal punches to the back of his head.

The officials quickly broke up the play when Ritchie began throwing the punches, and an opposing player came in to defend his teammate. Even in the scrum after the play, it appears Ritchie shoved the referee as well.

European leagues are often much more harsh with punishments surrounding contact to the head, so Ritchie could be looking at a potentially lengthy suspension here. After his entire NHL career fizzled out with subpar play in a final stint with the Coyotes, this really isn't a good look for Ritchie who has now clearly fallen far from the expectations of a NHL quality power forward.
December 29   |   270 answers
Former top-ten draft pick throws brutal sucker punches at opponent

What do you think of Nick Ritchie?

Solid player, should be back in the NHL4215.6 %
Fringe NHL player8933 %
Not NHL quality5721.1 %
Massive Bust8230.4 %
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