During prospect camp in late July, fifth-round draft pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft, Nicola Riopel, looked like the most mature goaltender of the bunch. And it seems the Flyers noticed that too.
According to The Times &Transcript, the Flyers have inked Riopel to an entry-level deal. The 20-year is expected to start the season with the Adirondack Phantoms.
“I knew when Philadelphia stepped up to draft him that they had definite plans for him this season,” Moncton Wildcat and Riopel’s head coach Danny Flynn told the T&T.
Riopel has always been an intriguing story. Undrafted in 2008, the 6’0, 175 lbs., backstop tried out for the Montreal Canadiens, but was not picked up.
Motivated, the confident tender put together an unbelievable 2009 season in the QMJHL, earning himself the league MVP with a 2.01 goals against average, in what is known as a very offensive league.
Riopel has a strong glove and good reflexes. However, his lack of size has been an issue. Nicola works in the offseason with multiple French Canadian NHLers, most notably Penguins’ forward Maxime Talbot.