Earlier this month, Brett Ritchie decided to head overseas after failing to secure an NHL contract, signing with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. Now, his brother has also decided to cross the pond as Karpat of the SM-liiga in Finland announced that they’ve inked Nick Ritchie to a one-year contract.
The 27-year-old was the tenth overall selection back in 2014 but while he showed flashes of some upside, he wasn’t able to lock down a regular spot in the top six. Over the past few seasons, he has bounced around in depth roles, playing for four teams in the last three years.
Last season, Ritchie spent time with both Arizona and Calgary, notably being traded for his brother at the trade deadline. Between the two teams, he collected 13 goals and 13 assists in 74 games along with 218 hits. Despite that, he failed to secure a guaranteed contract over the summer and eventually settled for a PTO with St. Louis. He didn’t fare particularly well with them, picking up an assist and 17 penalty minutes in three preseason contests, leading to his release.
Now that a contract elsewhere in North America has failed to materialize, Ritchie heads overseas. A strong showing over the final few months with Karpat could very well get him back on the NHL radar for next season on a minimum-salary contract. However, if Ritchie struggles, this could be the beginning of an extended stint overseas which is hardly the outcome many expected after being such a high draft pick a decade ago.