Weight: 208 pounds
Date of birth: December 6, 1997. Kitchener, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 7, 127th overall, 2013 Priority Selection
When your teammates include the likes of Alexander Nylander and Michael McLeod, (not to mention exceptional status player Sean Day) you can be certain that NHL scouts will converge on the Hershey Center in Mississauga Ontario. If your name is Nathan Bastian, you are going to draw attention.
Bastian entered the season on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary list of players to watch as a B prospect (second or third round pick) and through the first one-third of the Ontario Hockey League season, was moved up to an A prospect (first round prospect) on their November list. And it is merited.
Prior to the OHL draft, Bastian played Midget for the Kitchener Junior Rangers. He appeared in 55 games and scored 22 goals and 25 assists. The following season he split time between the Brantford 99’ers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (Junior B) and the Steelheads. In 48 games for Brantford, Bastian scored 17 goals and 29 assists. He got the call up to Mississauga and in 19 games scored twice with one assist.
Last season was his first full OHL season and Bastian appeared in all 68 games for the Steelheads notching 17 goals and 12 assists. To date this season, he’s already surpassed his assist high in the OHL and 25 goals and 70 points on the season are not out of reach.
At 6’4” Bastian has very good size and while he’s never been “soft” is using his size more effectively and beginning to play with an edge. His skating and speed are above average which allows him to get on top of defenders, almost always finishing his checks. His smarts, relentless pursuit and anticipation cause opposition turnovers.
Offensively, Bastian has good puck skills. He reads plays very well and has very good vision and excellent playmaking skills. He’s not afraid to drive to the net and is very good at finishing in close. He has a very good shot and is not hesitant to use it. He’s currently at 15.3 shooting percentage. He’s had the opportunity to play with both Nylander and McLeod and has shown he can “keep up”.
Defensively, Bastian does very well. He can play a complete 200 foot game. He gets into passing lanes and has a very active stick – and at 6’4”, you know he has the reach. He will not shy away from getting into the shooting lanes and blocking shots. He’s also been a steady contributor for two seasons on the Steelheads penalty kill.
One area Bastian will need to work on is his faceoffs. Just 23 games into the season he’s 47 for 105, or 44.8%. Not to worry, faceoffs are something that can be improved on. His most improved asset from last season to this season would have to be his skating. It is something he himself was aware of and he worked hard at it, and his work ethic will suggest that he will continue to improve in every aspect.
I believed he had first round potential. Now, everyone else does as well.