About a month ago, ’02 LD Nicolas Ardanaz committed to RPI. Ardanaz used to be committed to UNH after committing there as a 16 year old, but when they wanted to delay him a year (despite 3 years of junior hockey), he de-committed along with John Evans. He currently plays for West Kelowna in the BCHL, and this is his 3rd year with them. This season he had 4 goals, 31 assists and 35 points in 53 games. He also wore an “A” for the team, showing maturity, character and good leadership abilities.
Ardanaz is a great defenseman who is mostly an offensive defenseman. He is eager to join the rush when possible and lead breakouts. His main strength is his skating; he is a great skater with great edges and lateral mobility. His acceleration and speed are very good as well. He’s definitely comfortable with the puck on his stick and excellent on breakout. He has good hands and passing ability. As the above tweet notes, he is solid in his own end as well, and that part of his game has really improved over the years. He has a good stick, and he uses his skating and stick to defend the blue line well and deny zone entries. Lastly, he runs the power play effectively and can also play on the PK. Overall, his game reminds me a lot of Cory Babichuk with his skill set and his size (5’10” and 175 LBs).
Ardanaz will be enrolling this fall where he will be expected to contribute immediately on the blue line. RPI only returns Lauri Sertti and Dylan Davies on the left side, and Ardanaz is a great candidate to play key minutes right away with his abilities. Not only can he contribute immediately, but he also has a very high ceiling due to his offensive capabilities. Ardanaz is going to be a great player over his time at RPI, and we can’t wait to watch him. Congratulations to Nick and his family!