Last season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Cousins tallied 29 goals and 38 assists. He clearly portrays some offensive skill, but it is not, however, the strongest asset to his all around game.
Cousins is the exact type of player that you despise to play against but love having on our side. He is an agitator, always seeking to get under the opposition’s skin.
In an interview with Dustin Leed of The Hockey Guys, Cousins said he models his play style after Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. He then went on to add that the role of agitator isn’t all he brings to a team:
“I think I can bring offensive upside that not too many players have. I see the ice really well and am a smart hockey player. Also, I can bring that agitator roles as well – a little pesky forward.”
While he may compare himself to Marchand, Cousins also strikes similarities with current Flyers all-star forward Scott Hartnell. He plays with a combination of toughness and scoring ability. Nick has a strong two-way game and competes at a high level every second he is on the ice.
He also reminds me of this year’s draft pick Scott Laughton.
Both are very solid two-way players and will work for every loose puck. The biggest similarity is that the two see the ice very well. They play smart, responsible hockey for players as young as they are.
While attending the Flyers prospect camp this past July, I had a chance to scrutinize Cousins’ game. From what I could tell, he lived up to the name of “top prospect at camp”. He played his game well, took care of the puck, and played that tough guy role. He even got into a scrum with good friend Laughton. My favorite thing I saw from Cousins was his passion for the game of hockey. Although everyone is trying their hardest to impress the coaching staff, Cousins understands that having fun playing the game you love is what it’s all about. Nick may lack a bit of size out on the ice, but certainly not heart.
Unfortunately, Cousins hasn’t been in the best position as of late.
In late August, Cousins and two Greyhound teammates were charged with sexual assault. Obviously this isn’t something the Flyers want to see out of their promising prospect. But, I believe Cousins can get back on track and develop into a very solid two-way, second or third line center in the NHL.