Cristoval Nieves
Image: U. of Michigan

Cristoval Nieves

Hometown:

Baldwinsville New York

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1994-01-23

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2012

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2012

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

2nd round (59th overall), 2012

Weight:

185 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • C

History

2009-10: Cristoval Nieves was one of the top forwards at USA Hockey’s Select 15 Festival and skated for the Syracuse Junior Nationals midget team. In 60 games for the Nationals he scored 30 goals with 42 assists and had 70 penalty minutes. Nieves committed to playing college hockey at Michigan in 2012-13.  He was selected by Niagara in the 10th round (182nd overall) of the 2010 OHL Priority Draft.

2010-11: Nieves transferred to the Kent School in Connecticut for his junior year. He scored 11 goals with 28 assists in 27 games for Kent – which reached the New England Prep School Championship game, falling 2-1 to Milton Academy. Nieves had 1 goal and 2 assist in Kent’s win over Salisbury in the semifinals.

2011-12: Nieves skated for Team USA at the 2011 U18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and played for the USHL’s Indiana Ice in addition to completing his senior season at the Kent School. Nieves scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was plus-four in three games for Team USA. In 13 USHL games with Indiana he scored 2 goals with 8 assists and was an even plus/minus. Nieves scored 7 goals with 32 assists in 26 games for Kent School. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and was ranked 27th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.

2012-13: Nieves, a freshman, was one of four players to skate in all 40 games for Michigan. Playing alongside sophomore Phil Di Giuseppe (Carolina) for much of the season, he scored 8 goals with 21 assists and was -5 with 21 penalty minutes. The Wolverines finished seventh in the CCHA and failed to win 20 games for the first time since head coach Red Berenson’s third season in 1986-87 but went 8-0-1 in nine games at the end of the season; nearly earning an NCAA berth before falling to Notre Dame, 3-1, in the CCHA championship game.

 2013-14: Nieves was second on the University of Michigan with 19 assists, one behind team leader J.T. Compher. He scored 3 goals and was +3 with 18 penalty minutes in 34 games as a sophomore for the Wolverines. Michigan finished third in the Big Ten in the conference’s inaugural season but was upset by Penn State in the conference tournament and did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

2014-15: Nieves was the fifth-leading scorer for Michigan in his junior season. He scored 7 goals with 21 assists and was +3 with 18 penalty minutes in 35 games. Michigan finished third in the Big Ten and advanced to the conference tournament championship game but did not receive an NCAA Tournament bid after falling to first-place Minnesota, 3-2.

2015-16: Nieves began his pro career with a flourish — recording six points in his first four AHL games after joining New York Rangers’ affiliate Hartford following his senior season at the University of Michigan. Signed by New York to a two-year entry-level contract on March 28th after the Wolverines were eliminated from the 2016 NCAA Tournament by eventual national champion North Dakota, Nieves made his AHL debut in a game against Hershey on April 1st, finishing with an assist. He had an assist the next day against Portland and scored two goals with an assist in a game at Springfield on April 8th. Overshadowed by the exploits of freshman Kyle Connor in his senior season at Michigan, Nieves scored 10 goals with 21 assists and was +9 with 18 penalty minutes in 35 games. The Wolverines finished second to Minnesota in the Big 10 regular season but defeated the Gophers, 5-3, in the conference tournament championship game to earn an NCAA automatic berth. Michigan defeated Notre Dame, 3-2, in overtime in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals before falling to the Fighting Sioux, 5-2.

Talent Analysis

Nieves is a skilled forward with good speed and deft playmaking skills.  Although he has the height, Nieves is still a bit on the skinny side and will need to bulk up to better handle the rigors of the pro game.  He'll also need to show that he can compete well at a higher level of competition, but most signs point to Nieves becoming a creative offensive player with top-six potential.

Future

Nieves made his pro debut with the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack in April 2016 following his senior season at the University of Michigan. Signed to a two-year entry-level contract by the Rangers on March 28th, he projects as the type of second or third line forward who can play either wing or center and can play in all situations.

Prospect Impressions: Nieves nets a beauty for Wolverines, OHL newbies impress, Draisaitl continues hot play, and more prospect highlights

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Adam Marsh - Saint John Sea Dogs

Photo: Saint John Sea Dogs forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect Adam Marsh has had a productive 2015-16 campaign, posting 13 goals and 24 points in 29 QMJHL games (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

In this weeks Prospect Impressions, “Boo” Nieves goes coast-to-coast and scores a pretty one for the Michigan Wolverines. In the OHL, a pair of 16-year-olds shine, while Saint John Sea Dogs forward Adam Marsh goes between-the-legs in QMJHL action. Leon Draisaitl continues on his torrid scoring pace, re-energizing the Edmonton Oilers lineup on a daily basis. Lastly, a pair of goaltenders from Switzerland make it into this week’s highlights, one of them for a completely unorthodox reason. Read more»

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Photo: Magnus Hellberg is part of a deep stable of New York Rangers goaltenders developing below the NHL level. (Courtesy of Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: Magnus Hellberg is part of a deep stable of New York Rangers goaltenders developing below the NHL level. (Courtesy of Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)

The New York Rangers have had a regular, steady graduation of excellent prospects to the NHL over the last five to seven years, which has accounted in part for the competitiveness of the team. When combined with free-agent pickups who are in or just past their prime, the prospects have helped make the team a Stanley Cup contender for the last several years. The goal of every organization is to win a Cup, and every player on the team has a window of opportunity to do so. Certainly, star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is within his window, and the Rangers have surrounded him with the players to win either this season or in the next two or three. Read more»

Rangers continue to build NHL roster from within

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Photo: Marek Hrivik had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 15 games for Hartford in the 2015 AHL Playoffs, a considerable improvement over his regular season production. (Courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: Marek Hrivik had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 15 games for Hartford in the 2015 AHL Playoffs, a considerable improvement over his regular season production. (Courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

For many years, high-end prospects in the New York Rangers organization had little hope of ever playing on Broadway. The skill positions were the domain of big-ticket free-agent signees or declining veterans who came by trade. Almost ten years ago, that strategy changed, and as a result the majority of the Rangers roster is now home-grown. Continuing in that current trend, it is likely that two more prospects will be on the team when the season opens. Read more»

Rangers prospects strong in goal, weak elsewhere

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Photo: Pavel Buchnevich’s six points helped Russia to a silver-medal finish at the 2015 World Junior Championships. (Courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Photo: Pavel Buchnevich’s six points helped Russia to a silver-medal finish at the 2015 World Junior Championships. (Courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The summer of 2015 has seen big changes in the New York Rangers’ front office. After 15 years as president and general manager of the team, Glen Sather stepped down as GM on July 1. The club appointed former assistant GM Jeff Gorton to succeed him, and although Sather has retained his title as president, he will be less involved with day-to-day decisions this season and will not be pulling the trigger on trades. Read more»

Skjei and Buchnevich among New York Rangers prospects deserving of praise

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Photo: Brady Skjei scored his first professional playoff goal for Hartford in the first period of a triple-overtime game against Providence. (Courtesy of Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Photo: Upon completion of his junior year with the University of Minnesota, Brady Skjei joined the AHL’s Hartford  Wolf Pack, where he is competing in the Calder Cup Playoffs. (Courtesy of Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers system took a hit due to graduations and trades, but a select few prospects stood out in respective categories. Some players surprised, like Adam Tambellini and Mackenzie Skapski, while others like Dylan McIlrath and Cristoval Nieves disappointed. Read more»

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