Nicolas Blanchard
Image: AHL

Nicolas Blanchard


Granby Quebec

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7th round (192nd overall), 2005


200 lbs.

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2004-05: Nicholas Blanchard enjoyed a successful first year with Chicoutimi in the QMJHL. Coach Richard Martel used Blanchard on both the second and third lines and he was able to generate points offensively. Blanchard scored five goals on the power play and finished with 13 goals with 26 assists and 31 PIM in 69 regular season games. In 17 playoff games he scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was -5 with 10 PM.

2005-06: Blanchard scored 15 goals with 29 assists in sixty games in his second season with the Sagueneens. Blanchard's offensive opportunities were somewhat limited as Chicoutimi's lineup featured two of the top prospects in the league in Stanislav Lascek (TB), who had 135 points, and Marek Zagrapan (BUF) (35 goals, 52 assists), along with overager Maxime Boisclair (51 goals, 57 assists). In his reduced role, Blanchard was a +26 and showed he can be effective as a two-way forward. The native of Granby, Quebec also played a part in special teams, scoring four of his goals on the power play and three shorthanded. In nine playoff games, Blanchard scored 1 power play goal with 2 assists and 4 PIM and was -1.

2006-07: After attending his first camp with the Hurricanes, Blanchard increased his offensive production in his third season in Chicoutimi, scoring 22 goals, five of which came on the power play, with 35 assists and was -1 with 41 PIM in 62 games during the regular season. In the Saqueeneens first round playoff loss to Val d'Or, he had a pair of assists with 8 PM and was -5 in four games. Blanchard made his AHL debut with Albany following the QMJHL playoffs, playing with Albany in the seven regular season games as well as the AHL playoffs. He scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was +2 in the regular season and had 2 assists in seven playoff games. Blanchard signed a 3-year contract in April 2007.

2007-08: Blanchard acclimated himself well to the pro game – both offensively and on the physical side of things – in his first full season with Albany. Blanchard finished the year with 11 goals and 12 assists and was +4 in 64 games but also showed he was not hesitant to drop the gloves, earning 70 PIM. In seven postseason games for the River Rats, he had two assists and finished with an even plus/minus.

2008-09: Playing on a line with tough guy Mike Angelidis and rookie Nick Dodge for much of the year, Blanchard's offensive numbers dipped and his plus/minus of -19 was third worst on the team. In 55 games, he scored 7 goals with 12 assists as the River Rats failed to reach the playoffs. Blanchard also had 132 PIM, much of those coming from his 11 fights. Blanchard's season ended prematurely when he was one of the players injured when the River Rats' team bus crashed in January.

2009-10: The River Rats enjoyed a successful season in what would be their final season in Albany and Blanchard was right in the middle of things. In 76 games, he finished with 14 goals and 8 assists and was -6, scoring three times on the power play. While his 171 PIM were a pittance compared to teammate Zach Fitzgerald's 311, Blanchard was one of a handful of tough guys on the River Rats who made things tough on the opposition. Blanchard played in all eight playoff games but was scoreless with 13 PIM.

2010-11: Blanchard provided a veteran energy presence while chipping in offensively in his fourth AHL season with the Carolina organization. Blanchard was one of three players with over 100 penalty minutes for Charlotte, and had 8 goals with 10 assists and a -13 plus/minus to go along with his 101 PMs. Blanchard appeared in all 16 playoff games for the Checkers and scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was -3 with 16 PMs.

2011-12: Blanchard played a familiar role for Carolina's AHL affiliate Charlotte in his fifth pro season; providing hard, physical play and a strong two-way presence. He scored 9 goals with 12 assists in 68 games for the Checkers and was minus-7 with 103 penalty minutes. Charlotte finished third in the Midwest Division; one point out of an AHL playoff spot. He was re-signed to a two-year,  two-way contract by Carolina in May 2012.


Talent Analysis

Blanchard possesses the size and the willingness to play a physical, intimidating game. Now 25 pounds bigger than in his junior days, Blanchard relies on his physical play to carry him. No longer the scorer he was in juniors, Blanchard is now valued for his work ethic and willingness to stick up for teammates. Blanchard's two-way play is sometimes suspect particularly in his own end, as is evident by his negative plus/minus rating through his pro career, and he has limited playmaking skills. Most of his goals have come from down low in the zone, where he can use his size to drive to the net and or can work for possession along the walls.