Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Evan Nause Scouting Report.
Drafted sixth overall by the Val D’or Foreurs in the 2019 QMJHL Draft, Evan Nause instead choose to play in the USHL where he was a seventh-round pick of the Sioux Falls Stampede. At the time, Nause indicated that he wanted to play NCAA hockey and thus kept his options open in the USHL. He put up three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 44 games. Nause was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team. He also captained Team Canada Red at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. He put up just one assist in five tournament games.
Nause reconsidered his hockey future when faced with the COVID-19 Pandemic. He was drafted fifth overall by the Quebec Remparts in the 2020 QMJHL Draft and choose to sign with the team. Nause scored four goals and 18 assists for 22 points in 32 games this season. He also added a goal and an assist in six playoff games. Nause was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team following his strong season in Quebec. His older brother, Ryan Nause, is also playing high-end hockey, spending this past season with Aberni Valley in the BCHL.
Evan Nause Scouting Report
Left Defence — shoots Left
Born January 20th, 2003 — White Rock, British Columbia
Height 6’2″ — Weight 186 lbs [188 cm/84 kg]
Nause’s two-way game is based on his excellent skating ability. He has a good first step and his acceleration is good in both directions. Nause generates good speed and power through his crossovers when moving backwards. He is also quick moving forwards. This skating ability allows him to push the offence and still get back defensively. His agility and edgework are excellent. This lateral mobility, combined with his speed allows him to maintain excellent gap control and makes him tough to beat off the rush. Nause has crisp pivots. He is able to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. One area that can be improved is his strength though. Nause can add muscle to his frame, especially in his core. This will make him stronger on his skates and improve his balance.
Nause has strong playmaking ability. He makes an excellent first pass to start the transition game. Nause finds the open man and usually hits him in stride, allowing his team to attack the neutral zone with speed. He is also good at making a long breakaway pass if his teammate is able to get behind the defence. Nause is not the type to carry the puck through the neutral zone but he can make a move to avoid a forechecker and get the puck out of the defensive zone. He also shows good passing skills and vision in the offensive zone. However, he could stand to hold the puck longer sometimes and make a play. He seems a bit uncomfortable holding onto the puck too long and could stand to have a bit more patience if he really wants to be a power-play quarterback going forward.
Nause could use some work on his slap shot. He should use his lateral mobility to open up shooting lanes so he can get it through to the net more often. He also needs to add some muscle and power to that shot. His wrist shot is very good though. He can use it as the trailer on the rush, taking a drop pass and firing it on the net. He also likes to pinch in from the point and let his wrist shot go from the top of the circles. Nause has decent power and accuracy on the wrist shot and his quick release can create issues for goalies. He also has good instincts in pinching in from the point to hold the puck in the offensive zone and create more offensive opportunities.
Nause’s skating ability allows him to maintain good gap control and makes him tough to beat off the rush. He forces his man to the outside and into bad positions to shoot the puck on the net. He also does a good job of keeping his man in front of him and cutting off passing lanes with his active stick. However, Nause can stand to add strength to his frame. This will help him to contain bigger and stronger opponents in the cycle game. It will also help him to win battles along the boards and clear the front of the net. The defensive tools are there and his game projects to improve with maturity. His ability to clear the zone quickly also helps to reduce the opponent’s zone time.
Projection and Comparison
Nause’s size and skating make him an intriguing prospect and should help him to make the NHL one day. However, there are questions about his ultimate upside. He likely tops out as a second pair defender and his offence seems to top out as a second unit power play defenceman. Nause has plenty of tools though and could be a valuable part of a team’s top-four if he reaches his ceiling. He likely heads back to the QMJHL next season and should compete for a spot on Team Canada’s World Junior team. Nause is at least two or three years away from being NHL ready. His game is reminiscent of Ryan McDonagh but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Evan Nause that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Evan Nause nice tip for his 4th goal of the season. He's been our highest ranked defenceman out of the QMJHL all year and is a legit 1st round prospect. pic.twitter.com/Z8N5R9nJfN
— ☘️🏒 Sean Patrick Ryan 🏒☘️ (@TheOilKnight) March 31, 2021
— Sioux Falls Stampede (@sfstampede) November 30, 2019
— Sioux Falls Stampede (@sfstampede) February 29, 2020
Evan Nause @quebec_remparts since Christmas Break: 13 pts in 10 games. 7 assists In his last 3 games. Huge step in the offensive side. Really happy for him! #2021NHLDraft #LHJMQ #QMJHL pic.twitter.com/sSq1fvMZuL
— Benoit Belanger (@BenoitGBelanger) February 16, 2021
My scouting notes on Evan Nause – November 25th 2020
— Andy Lehoux (@Andylehoux1) February 5, 2021
Check back tomorrow for our latest draft article.
Evan Nause Scouting Report Main Photo:
Evan Nause wearing the C for Team Canada Red at the World U17 challenge pic.twitter.com/dWPrDP8kO8
— Leo Boivin Showcase (@leoboivintourny) November 3, 2019