Like any other hockey team, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians need their best players to be their best players.
For the month of December, Nick DeGrazia was just that.
The 18 year-old Thunder Bay native currently leads the team in scoring (7G-8A-10GPs), ranking 7th overall in the NOJHL. As a result, the young prospect who was recently identified on the NHL Central Scouting list was named as the Toppers Pizza Top Performer this month.
DeGrazia helped the Canadians earn a split in their four game set with the Blind River Beavers, finishing with five goals and an equal number of assists. Standing 6'1" and tipping the scales at 180 pounds, DeGrazia led Rayside in scoring during the 2019-2020 season and is expected to crack the Sudbury Wolves' roster, if/when the OHL season begins.
"DeGrazia's speed is his greatest weapon," stated Canadians head coach Vagelli Sakellaris. "He has the ability to beat defenders one-on-one with his outside speed and he also likes to drive the net. He is very difficult to defend against and has become a very dangerous scoring threat, even when we are playing short-handed."
DeGrazia is tied with teammate Owen Perala for the team lead in goals (with seven) and deadlocked with Brady Maltais for the top spot with eight assists, in addition to netting a pair of short-handed goals (tied with Oliver Smith).
With the province of Ontario under lockdown, DeGrazia and his teammates have returned home for the holidays, set to return to Sudbury on January 9th. The Canadians will begin practicing for two weeks at the Chelmsford Arena prior to taking-on their next NOJHL West Division opponent in a six-game mini-series.