In The Hockey News (12/17/12 issue), they look at 2012 second round pick Boo Nieves. They write that his transition to Michigan has been “seamless” and his value is clear in that they have a winning record with him in the lineup and a losing record with him out of the lineup.”
Corey Pronman wrote earlier in the year at Puck Prospectus that Nieves has high skating and play making ability and is “a player who on his best shift can simply dazzle with his speed and puck possession abilities.” He says that he has the potential to be a top-six player, if he gets stronger, but is a long-term project.
Geoffrey Chiles of Michigan Hockey Net emailed over a report on how Boo has played in his freshman season:
Boo has been a real pleasant surprise, though I expected nothing less out of him. He’s got 9 points so far this season, and if you guys have enjoyed the finished product of Carl Hagelin, you’re going to love Boo. Though he doesn’t have Carl’s top-end speed or defensive ability, he’s fast, goes hard to the net, finds the open areas, and looks for his linemates first. He’s a very unselfish player, and his passing has been superb. Some things to work on: his shot, and backchecking skills. His shot is going to improve in both speed and accuracy, given time, but he’s got to be more aware on the defensive end (you can say that about most of our players so far this season!), and be able to hustle back to his own zone, take out his man, strip the puck, etc. Returning to positive traits, his no-look, backhand pass from behind the net to find AJ with an open net was just gorgeous.
He notes that Boo was seeing time on the top line with Michigan captain AJ Treais.
Update On The Rangers Prospects In College
Here is an update on The New York Rangers top 3 prospects at the college level. Brady Skjei/ Defense (University of Minnesota): The 2-way defenseman has had a slow start offensively for the Minnesota Gofers thus far. However; he has been very consistent on the defense.
Games Goals Assists Points
12 1 1 2
Steven Fogarty/Forward (University of Notre Dame): Despite managing only 4 pts in the first 13 games, Fogarty has displayed a very physical presence on the ice and is very steady defensively.
Games Goals Assists Points
13 3 1 4
Cristoval “Boo” Nieves/Forward (University of Michigan): Nieves has been outstanding in his first 13 games as his defense has improved immensely to go along with his offensive production.
Games Goals Assists Points
13 2 6 8
Thus far, all three prospects have had their ups and downs this season and all three need time to develop their game to the next level. All three prospects are projected at least 3-4 years from making their professional debut, so time is on their side to improve their game.
Cristoval “Boo” Nieves Prospect Preview
In the 2012 NHL Draft, The New York Rangers reached out in the 2nd round and selected tall lanky center-men by the name of Cristoval “Boo” Nieves. The nickname of “Boo” is short for Bugaboo given to him as a child by his parents. Nieves has all the tools to be a top line player in the NHL. He has great size as he is already 6’3 (still growing). Weighing 176 pounds on draft day, Nieves has the frame to add an additional 20-25 lbs without it affecting his speed. The most obvious attribute in Nieves game is that he is an elite skater with an effortless stride. During many Pre-Draft Mock boards, Nieves was projected as a possible late 1st round selection. The addition of Nieves in the Rangers organization gives the Rangers the most depth at the center position than any other position in their system. A speedster with a fair amount of potential as a playmaker, Nieves finished with seven goals and 39 points in 26 games with Kent in 2011-12, something of a disappointment after he got 11 goals and 28 assists in 22 games the year prior. He also had two goals and 10 points in 13 games with the Indiana Ice of the USHL.
Nieves is committed to play at the University of Michigan; which will benefit him the time to develop and add the needed muscle to play at the AHL/NHL levels.
Hockey’s Future: In the offensive zone, Nieves is a terrific playmaker. He has elite level vision and can thread tape to tape passes. He has great puck control and soft hands which allow him to control the puck and make the patient effective play. He’s has a hard shot and a good release, but we are a little puzzled by his goal scoring totals (especially considering the level of competition at the US Prep School level). We’ve seen him score some nice goals in the Hlinka and a couple in the USHL, and he shown that he has a nice shot, but overall the goal totals are far below what we would expect; and this a bit of a concern. THN.com: Nieves is a very gifted offensive forward; with exceptional speed and skating ability. He possesses great hands and passes the puck very well. Nieves has good size, but despite his ideal size, Nieves is not very physical as he does not engage in physical battles along the boards that we would like to see from a player with his physical tools. We’d also like to him use his speed and size to be more physical on the fore-check, and in the defensive end of the ice. He definitely also needs work on his defensive game, especially his positioning; however this is not unexpected. We would anticipate that he didn’t need to play much defense at the Prep School level as his line would probably be on the offense for most of his shifts. This is something often seen from a prospect coming out of a lower level league.
Strengths:Nieves has exceptional speed and skating ability. He passes the puck very well and has solid hockey sense. Weaknesses: Nieves lacks discipline in the defensive zone at times and needs to utilize his size to be more physical, especially along the boards. Future Analysis: There’s no question that Cristoval “Boo“ Nieves is a skilled forward with good speed and top playmaking skills. Nieves is at least 3-4 years away from competing for a roster spot and will need to add muscle to bulk up to handle the physical AHL/NHL level of competition. However; all the signs point to Nieves becoming a creative offensive player with Top 6 potential.
At NHL.com, Mike Morreale spoke with a scout that said that 2012 second round pick Boo Nieves was the best prospect to come out of the New England area since the Rangers used the 19th pick in 2009 on a kid named Chris Krieder.
A similarity between the two is the speed that both players possess, as Gary Eggleston says of Central Scouting told Morreale, “he just explodes off the mark and has agility, balance and quickness to break loose from traffic,”
At Syracuse.com, Nieves mother tells stories of how Boo started skating and his “special legs.”
“At age 2, he buckled on a pair of rollerblades and steamed down an incline on his driveway. He deftly executed an advanced cross-over stride and jetted into the street.
A year later, Nieves went to skating lessons with his older brother, Alessandro. A coach gave Boo a small walker often used by first-time skaters. He handed the helper to another beginner and then glided off on his own, unassisted.”
His prep school coach told Morreale, “I don’t know how he skates so freaking fast for his size. He’s one of the best skaters I’ve seen this year. I think he can jump into the American Hockey League and play right now and you wouldn’t even blink.”
The Rangers took Boo Nieves with their second round pick and while most people look at his speed, Future Considerations says that he also has pretty solid vision on the ice, “He makes decisions quickly and can really handle the puck calmly, even at full speed. He has great vision and can really thread the needle with his passes.”
At Syracuse.com, Nieves former youth coach says that the hockey sense was apparent at a young age, “The one thing that continues to stick out about him is his unbelievable hockey sense. He found guys that were open. You said, ‘Ah, that’s not typically a 9-year-old play.”
Jeff Gorton told the Rangers website that Nieves has the speed and the sense to play, “when you saw him play his speed stuck out. He can make plays, put some weight on and he has some room to grow. He has NHL speed now and hockey sense.”
Boo is heading to Michigan in the fall and Gorton said, “We are willing to be patient” and “we are projecting 3 or 4 years down the road.”
In 2009, the Rangers used their first round pick on a tall, lanky, raw prospect named Chris Kreider that played in prep school in New England and was going to start college in the fall.
The Rangers used their second round pick this year on Cristoval Nieves, a 6-2, 185 pound forward who played in prep school in New England and is heading off to the University of Michigan in the fall.
Nieves told the Rangers website that he is using that 2009 first round pick as inspiration, “They have a few guys who have gone that route, and Kreider is definitely an inspiration for me.”
At Syracuse.com, via Rachel, Nieves says that Mark Messier gave him some advice at the draft on how to approach his career, “(He said), ‘Go to college. Become a man.’ Whenever I’m ready, hopefully I can play for them. We’re in no rush. When it happens, it will happen.’’
With the 59th pick in the draft, the Rangers select Cristoval (Boo) Nieves.
Boo is from Syracuse, (Baldwinsville) NY and is 6-2, 185 lbs.
Bob McKenzie said “He skates like the wind and is a big physical specimen who is heading to Michigan. There is a lot to like with the physical tools that he has.”
McKenzie says that the pick reminds him of when the Rangers took Huge Jessiman since Nieves is a project and the jury is still out on what he can do with his talent.
10:55AM: McKenzie tweets, “When I compared Nieves to Jessiman it was only to the extent that they are/were prospects with tremendous physical tools/potential.”
Future Considerations ranked him 38th, saying “A big and fast, skilled playmaking winger. His feet are one of his biggest assets as he is explosive from stand still and can blow by defenders. He has an extra gear that few in his class possess and also has good power in his stride as he can carry the puck and work through checks. He makes decisions quickly and can really handle the puck calmly, even at full speed.”
“He has great vision and can really thread the needle with his passes. His shot is not as strong as it will be once he fills out but he can score off the rush with it. His overall consistency will need to improve as will his strength—his upper body is lanky. He drives the net with his long reach and size but is not an overly physical player. He played the season with Kent School before moving over to the Indiana Ice of the USHL when the prep school season concluded. He will get time to develop physically and address problems with his consistency and defensive game at the University of Michigan starting this fall.”