For the first time in his new role as Director of Player Development, Scott Nichol has taken on the task of organizing and leading the annual Predators Prospect Development Camp.
Nichol was hired in May of 2013, and was given the job of managing the advancement of prospects within the Predators system. After a 20-year NHL career, Nichol now dedicates his time to evaluating prospects drafted by the Predators on all levels of competition. With the goal in mind to make these prospects NHL-ready, Nichol keeps a regular dialogue with them about off-ice workouts, conditioning, practice habits, and nutrition.
After spending a year following these young players around the United States, Canada and Europe, the Predators believed Nichol would be able to most effectively design this year’s camp. At only 39 years of age, Nichol also brings an element of youth and energy. Just two years removed from playing in the NHL, Nichol has been able to connect with the players on a personal level.
“The transition has been seamless,” Nichol said. “I played in the league the last five or six years basically doing what I’m doing now; helping the young guys out. I know what they’re going through, and I can talk the lingo with them and tell them my stories.”
Nichol, who was an 11th-round draft pick in 1993, paid his dues before reaching the NHL. He appeared in only five NHL games for the first 10 years of his professional career. Nichol earned a reputation as an instigator with the Rochester Americans, Buffalo’s AHL affiliate, racking up 677 penalty minutes in his six seasons there. In the summer of 2000, he signed a free-agent contract with the Calgary Flames and promptly broke into their lineup, playing in 68 games that season.
Nichol’s persistence paid off with a long NHL career, a career that included a four-year stint with the Predators from 2005-09 where he recorded 24 goals, 23 assists and 271 penalty minutes. His story of perseverance is one that he uses as a teaching tool while mentoring the young players during the Development Camp.
“I’ve played a lot of time at each level,” Nichol said. “It’s not like I went from juniors straight to the NHL. They’re not going to pull the wool over my eyes because I’ve lived it. I’m trying to tell my story, what worked, what didn’t work, and hopefully help them get to the League.”
While new Head Coach Peter Laviolette has only been with the team for a short while, he has already taken note of the value Nichol brings to the organization.
“Scott’s done a terrific job of planning and building relationships with all these guys,” Laviolette said. “He’s been so impressive with the way he teaches and talks to these young players. He sets a great example for all of us.”
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