by Dominic Tiano (@DominicTiano)
The 6’2, 191 pound native of Mentor Ohio was a first round pick, fourth overall of the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL in 2012. He was selected by the Kitchener Rangers in the twelfth round, 239th overall, in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.
During the 2012-2013 season Magyar played in 31 games for the Cleveland Barons U18 of the MWEHL where he scored 13 goals and added 21 assists before making the jump and playing 27 games for the Musketeers. He scored once and added five assists in those 27 games. He also played in four games for the U.S. National U17 Team where he went pointless.
On July 24, 2013 Magyar de-committed from attending Ohio State and signed an agreement with the Rangers. About his decision to commit to the Rangers, Magyar told the K-W Record just last month: "I stuck with my gut. I felt like this was the right place. I think it's the best decision I've ever made in hockey. I don't regret it one bit."
The right shooting Magyar can play both center and on the wing. He’s a big powerful forward who’s not afraid to use his size. He has strong hockey sense and very good vision. Magyar is very good at protecting the puck creating time and space for his teammates and combined with his vision he sets them up for scoring opportunities. He possesses a strong, heavy, accurate shot with a quick release.
The rookie sits comfortably in second in points for the Rangers having scored 15 goals and 24 assists in 56 games trailing only Justin Bailey. He sits fourth in points among Ontario Hockey League rookies in scoring.
We caught up with Mike Farwell, analyst for the Kitchener Rangers’ radio broadcast to talk about the Rangers draft prospects, beginning with Magyar.
OHLW: Can you tell us where his overall game is at this point in his development?
Farwell: He seems stronger now than when the season began. He’s more difficult to move off the puck. Nick has a nose for the net and if not for some bad luck and maybe a little first year skill that needs to be polished, he’d probably have 20 goals already (he has 16 as I write this). I like the way he thinks the game, more a scorer than a passer, but definitely someone with an above average offensive game. I wouldn’t call him flashy but I would call him consistent, reliable, and talented.
OHLW: With such a young squad in Kitchener, should it come as a surprise that he is second in scoring for Kitchener?
Farwell: No. You nailed it when talking about the young squad. He’s one of the strongest first year players.
OHLW: He's a strong puck possession player with very good vision which helps him set up teammates. But he also has a heavy, accurate shot with a quick release. Should he be a little more selfish with the opportunities he creates?
Farwell: I think he already is. As noted above, he’s more a shooter than a passer (in my opinion). As that shot develops and he gets a sense of where/when to use it best, you’ll see him threaten 30 goals in this league.
OHLW: He definitely does not shy away from the physical game, but could we expect more?
Farwell: I don’t think that’s his style. He’s not going to be a power forward in this league, he’s going to be a guy that produces points. As you say, he doesn’t shy away from the physical game and he makes himself difficult to play against. But don’t expect to see him in 5 fights every year.
OHLW: You get to spend some time with players off the ice at home and on the road. Can you tell us a bit about his character and Magyar the person?
Farwell: Polite, well-spoken, friendly, good teammate. I enjoy being around him.
OHLW: Players sometimes get a bad rap for de-committing from U.S. Schools to jump to the OHL and Magyar has been very firm in his belief that it was the best move for his development. Through 56 games, what is the biggest improvement you have noticed in his game?
Farwell: Again referring back to your original question, I think the biggest thing is his strength. He must be working hard off the ice because he is becoming a real master at protecting the puck on rushes, maintaining possession, and coming out of scrums with the puck as opposed to losing it. That’s what I’ve seen most.
OHLW: Magyar seems like a very coachable young player and with Kitchener going through somewhat of a rebuild stage it takes its toll on younger players. But it doesn't seem to be the case with Magyar. Fair assessment?
Farwell: Yes, fair assessment. I think this new coaching staff has done a great job managing these players in a trying season. The players are still eager to work and I’d argue the success of the coaching approach when you see the way the team has played in the late going. Instead of mailing it in as a lost season, some of their most inspired hockey has come during the final 15 games. Nick is a good example of a player that responds well to coaching, does what’s expected of him, and works hard.