2005-06: Riley Nash played major midget hockey with the Thompson Blazers, scoring 40 goals with 50 assists and 100 PIM in 55 games. He played one regular season game at the end of the year with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and stuck around for the playoffs where he had three points in five games.
2006-07: In his first full season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL), the Nash led the team in scoring with 38 goals and 45 assists in 55 games. Nash was named team MVP and Rookie of the Year as well being the Interior Conference Rookie of the Year. He was selected in the first round (21st overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL draft.
2007-08: Nash had an impressive freshman season with the Cornell University Big Red in the ECACHL. He was second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 20 assists in 36 games and was named ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Nash’s seven power play goals were tops on the team. Cornell finished tied for fourth in the ECACHL during the regular season and defeated Colgate in the league tournament’s third place game to finish with an overall record of 19-14-3.
2008-09: Nash led Cornell in scoring as a sophomore with 13 goals and 22 assists and finished +4 with 34 PIM in 36 games. Nash was named to the ECAC First All-Star Team and was an honorable mention for the All-Ivy League Team. Cornell finished second to Yale in the ECACHL regular season and earned an NCAA tournament berth. The Big Red also fell to Yale in the ECACHL championship game after a memorable double overtime win against Princeton in the ECACHL semifinals. Nash was invited to Team Canada’s WJC camp.
2009-10: Riley started off slowly offensively as a junior as the Big Red employed a smothering shut-down style of play and spread around the power play opportunities. But by season’s end he was once again among Cornell’s scoring leaders finishing second behind senior Blake Gallagher with 12 goals and 24 assists and +12 with 39 PIM in 31 games. Cornell again finished second to Yale in the regular season but allowed just one goal in four games to capture the ECACHL tournament championship. In the NCAA tournament, the Big Red were beaten by New Hampshire and finished with a record of 21-9-4. Nash was named to the ECACHL’s Third Team following the season. In June, his rights were traded by Edmonton to Carolina for a second round pick (46th overall) in the 2010 draft. He signed an entry level contract with the Hurricanes in July and will forego his senior year with Cornell.
2010-11: Nash spent his first year of pro hockey with Charlotte (AHL) and showed consistent improvement as a solid two-way center for the Checkers. Nash finished with 14 goals and 18 assists and was +5 with 26 PMs in 79 games for Charlotte. He appeared in all 16 AHL playoff games, scoring 1 power play goal and adding three assists. He finished with a -2 plus/minus and accumulated 16 PMs.
2011-12: Nash made his NHL debut in his first pro season, appearing in two December games with the Hurricanes before returning to the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, and played three games with Carolina at the end of January. He had one point, an assist, and was plus-one with 2 penalty minutes; averaging 10:34 minutes of ice time in five NHL games. In 58 AHL games with Charlotte he scored 8 goals with 12 assists and was minus-15 with 26 penalty minutes. Nash scored 6 of his 8 goals on the power play. Charlotte finished third in the Midwest Division; one point out of an AHL playoff spot.
Nash once cited former Red Wing star and current Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman as his favorite player and that is quite fitting since both play similar styles. Nash has a very good, but not flashy, offensive game and is reliable in every part of the rink. In addition to having the ability to stickhandle past opponents, Nash has a sound puck possession and cycling game. Though his size and strength is not yet at the level he will need to be as effective along the boards at the pro level as he is in college, Nash is willing to battle for loose pucks and defend in small spaces. His size, however, is the only impediment at this point between him and a NHL career. Nash is a complete player two-way player.