Nelson shows knack for physical play ahead of 2022 NHL Draft

Today, a look at defenseman Ty Nelson with North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

Ty Nelson wants opposing forwards to be aware when he is on the ice.

"If there is a big open-ice hit that comes to me, I'm going to try and blow the guy up, I'm not going to lie," Nelson said. "I do enjoy the big hit and then you get the boys all hyped up and it can change the momentum of the game."

The 18-year-old with North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League isn't big by NHL standards (5-foot-10, 199 pounds), but he always has embraced the physical side of the game.

"It's more of a skill game now, 100 percent, but I like to bring that little 'old game' aspect into it and be physical," Nelson said.

"When I get an early hit in the game, it really gets me going into the game a lot faster."

When North Bay general manager Adam Dennis selected Nelson with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, a conversation with the father of North Bay captain Liam Arnsby confirmed he had made the right pick.

"He said there wasn't a guy Liam disliked playing against more than Ty when he played up against him in minor midget, so that was one of the best compliments we had," Dennis said.

"I think when you combine [his willingness to play physically] with his skating ability, it balances him off. I had to answer the question a lot because we took him first overall about his size and I kept saying, 'Would you rather get hit by a door or a bowling ball?' There have been some guys that have tried to go head-to-head with him and have come out on the wrong side of it."

Nelson, No. 32 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, excelled this season despite not playing last season after the OHL canceled its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The right-hand shot led North Bay 

"A lot of time in the gym, that's for sure," Nelson said about how he made the most of the cancelled season. "It [stunk] having my first year canceled, I didn't get that development year like most of the other guys do. But there was nothing really we could have done about it, so I was just trying to take advantage of what I could. I just looked at it as an extended offseason and just kept staying in the gym every day, getting on the ice whenever I could and just trying to improve all around."