Isaac Ratcliffe surging with Storm
By Kurtis Wells, thehockeywriters.com
It has been a treat to watch Isaac Ratcliffe play this season. He has had ups and downs but ultimately has played well for a middle-of-the-pack team. He has even gone as far as showing pure dominance in some games and taken the team on his shoulders.
Not very often do you get to see a 19-year-old that is 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds skate as well as Ratcliffe. Usually at that age, they’re still figuring out how to put the size and speed together. Ratcliffe, however, has figured out the speed part and has utilized it often this season.
He produced well last season with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Guelph Storm which led to him being drafted 35th overall by the Flyers in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. His play this season has been even more impressive with him looking much more comfortable with the puck. He has played more confidently on both sides of the ice which has led to him setting career highs in goals and points and should lead to him breaking his assist record as well within the next couple games.
Slow Out of the Gates
Ratcliffe had a slow start to the season by his standards, especially when you consider he was a top pick in last year’s NHL Entry Draft. He shuffled through a few lines, playing with different players, but just couldn’t figure it out. He posted points but not nearly at the rate that was expected of him.
He looked a bit sluggish and was knocked off the puck very easily early in the season. He wasn’t finishing his hits and looked slightly out of place at times. To be frank, his play was underwhelming and disappointing because the expectation was that he would be an offensive force for the Storm as they were starting to take form.
Something changed very quickly though as his play picked up significantly, which has led to a strong second half for him. He’s finally looking like the player that he was supposed to be. His development is back on track and that should continue as the Storm look to make an impact in the playoffs.