5 things to know about Nick Ritchie, the Bruins’ deadline day pickup

Anaheim Ducks left wing Nick Ritchie, left, celebrates after scoring past Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
New Bruin Nick Ritchie (center) returned from an MCL sprain last month. –AP Photo / Chris Carlson

With just hours remaining before the NHL trade deadline Monday, the Bruins made their second move, dealing Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for left winger Nick Ritchie.

Here are five things to know about the newest Bruin:

His older brother is also a Bruin.

Yes, you’ve heard his name before. His last name, at least.

Ritchie, 24, is the younger brother of Brett Ritchie, 26, who is currently playing with Providence. After seven seasons with the Stars, Brett signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Bruins this past offseason. Brett Richie scored the first goal of the 2019-20 season against his former team.

Nick and Brett grew up skating together, on the backyard rink built for them by their father, Paul, in Orangeville, Ont. No one in the family would say which brother was the better skater, in a 2011 interview with NHL.com, but Brett is the better golfer, and Nick is better at tennis.

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“Sometimes it gets nasty, but that’s just brotherly love, I guess,” Brett Ritchie said in 2011. “It obviously gets competitive just having that nature about us, playing sports and growing up with them.”

He returned from an MCL sprain last month.

Ritchie was sidelined with a left MCL sprain after being hit by the Capitals’ Radko Gudas on Dec. 6.

Ritchie returned on Jan. 28, and has since tallied four goals and eight points.

He once ended an 11-round shootout

When the Ducks and the Minnesota Wild were vying for a last-chance playoff spot in 2018, they battled to an 11-round shootout. Nick Ritchie potted the winner in the 3-2 overtime victory.

He told the Redlands Daily Facts after the game that he studied the reactions of  the Wild goalie closely.

“You are watching him,” Ritchie said. “It’s hard to tell because guys are doing different kinds of moves. You see how he’s reacting. You’ve just got to have something in mind and kind of make one quick adjustment. That’s pretty much the game in the shootout.”

Maybe Ritchie will be able to stop the Bruins from struggling in overtime.

He was the victim in a call that ranked as one of the dirtiest plays of the season.

In 2016, Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert was suspended for three games without pay after “boarding and charging” Ritchie. Gilbert made contact with Ritchie’s head as the pair crashed into the glass, and was awarded a minor penalty. The play ranked seventh on Bleacher Report’s list of the “dirtiest plays of the 2016-17 NHL season so far.”

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Ritchie did not return to that game and missed the next two, but remained otherwise healthy that season.

He’s a three-time national champion in box lacrosse

Ritchie won three Canadian box lacrosse championships playing for Team Ontario, and won a province title when he, a bantam, was called up to Brett’s midget team. Both Ritchie brothers gave up lacrosse, but received invitations to Canada’s national under-19 field lacrosse tryouts in 2012.

“Lacrosse is the biggest sport in Orangeville,” a 16-year-old Ritchie told the Peterborough Petes website after he was drafted by the OHL team. “Most guys play and all young kids start playing. We have pretty much the best junior A team in Ontario.

“Hockey is definitely my favourite sport and it’s always been my dream to play in the NHL. Lacrosse is a pretty rough sport and training for hockey is more important. I’m probably never going to play lacrosse again. It was definitely a tough decision.”

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