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Prospect Update: Thimo Nickl
By Thomas Harrington
A fourth round pick from 2020, defenseman Thimo Nickl spent this past season playing in Europe for three different leagues: the SHL, HockeyAllsvenskan, and J20 Nationell.
Nickl was expected to play in the QMJHL this year, but because of the pandemic, decided to play overseas instead. He started the season playing for Rogle BK J20 in the J20 Nationell, where he recorded one goal and five points in nine games. Unfortunately, Sweden paused and then cancelled the season midway through for all junior level hockey, so Nickl was bumped up to the SHL and played with Rogle BK.
Unfortunately, Rogle had a very crowded blueline and Nickl was used sparingly. He appeared in 15 games and was scoreless. After a month in the SHL, he was loaned to Mora IK in the HockeyAllsvenskan, where he played in three games and was scoreless. After those three games, he came back to the SHL to Rogle BK and stayed with them for the rest of the season.
Nickl was supposed to play for Austria at the World Juniors Tournament in December and January. Unfortunately, he tested positive for COVID-19 right before the tournament and missed all of it.
Nickl has signed a one-year extension and will be back with Rogle BK in the SHL next season. Even though he didn’t get a ton of ice time with Rogle, they liked him enough to want him back for another year.
I have a couple of expectations for Nickl next season, and one hope. The hope is that he doesn’t bounce across three different leagues and teams. Through no fault of his own, Nickl was in a very difficult spot last season and never really had a chance to settle in with a team. Hopefully he gets to this coming season. My first expectation for him is to play more than the combined 27 games he played last season. My second expectation for him is to start recording some points in the SHL. The year before he was drafted, Nickl scored 39 points in 58 games in the QMJHL. While those aren’t elite numbers, they are certainly solid ones and I want him to start showing that offensive prowess again this year.
Nickl is a number of years away from making his NHL debut. He’ll spend next season in the SHL, and there’s a chance he could do another after that. When he’s ready to come to North America, he’ll likely see time in San Diego before he gets a chance with the Ducks. So he’s probably two to four years away from making his NHL debut, if he gets there.
Nickl is currently unsigned. Initially, because he was a player in juniors, the Ducks had his rights until next June. However, because he has opted to stay in Europe, Anaheim should have control of his rights for the next few years, giving Nickl more time to develop and show what kind of player he is. Given the difficulties that he had last season because of the pandmeic, I think it’s a good thing for him and Anaheim to get a little more time before a decision has to be made on whether or not to sign him.
The next prospect update will be on Roman Durny.
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September 8th, 2021