NHL Draft: Massimo Rizzo

Name: Massimo Rizzo

Team: Penticton Vee’s (BCHL)

Position: Center

Height/Weight: 5’10 174lbs

Hand: Left

NHL Draft Ranking: N/A 

Western Prospects Ranking: 31st

Estimated Draft Position: Fourth Round to Fifth Round


 

Areas of Strength:

  • Playmaking ability
  • Skating and edge control
  • Silky hands

Areas of Weakness:

  • Overall strength
  • Consistency and engagement
  • Over handling the puck

 

Report: Coming to the Penticton Vees from the vaunted Burnaby Winter Club, who have famously produced NHL superstar Mat Barzal, Rizzo himself was also a highly touted prospect in his own right coming out of Bantam hockey. After putting up over two points per game and capturing a Western Canada Bantam Tier-1 Championship, he was the selected 15th overall by Kamloops in the 2016 WHL Draft. As an encore, the following season Rizzo proceeded to capture the CSSHL Midget Prep divisions Freshman of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards after posting 53 points in 28 games, with his 41 assists outpacing the closest of his peers by four. He then joined the Vees in the midst of their run to winning the Fred Harbinson cup as BCHL Champion. Rizzo compiled a combined two goals and four assists in 14 games along the way as a 15 year old. In the two years since, both seasons being delayed at the start due to injuries sustained prior to the beginning of the season, he has gone on to put together point totals which aggregate and break down to average .88 points per game which is perhaps an homage to the number he wore as a young BWC Bruin but is more certainly a case of pure chance. Prior to last season, Rizzo was named captain of the storied Vees franchise. He has also gained some experience within the Hockey Canada development program when he suited up at the World under-17 Hockey Championship in 2018 and the World Jr.A Challenge in 2019. Rizzo is commited to the University of North Dakota and will look to follow in the footsteps of another past Vees captain and budding NHL star Tyson Jost when he suits up for the NCAA program, with 2020/21 slated to be his freshman year.

Rizzo finds himself on the ice in pretty much all key offensive situations for Penticton and he is a regular fixture on his teams top power play unit while also killing penalties on occasion. Rizzo has silky smooth hands and an extremely patient natural abilty to slow the game down to his liking, which is an especially dangerous combination on the power play and helped him notch 20 of his 29 total assists last year with the man advantage. He plays a very heads up cerebral game with high level of creativity, yet he has been unable to consistently produce in the BCHL at a level that matches his offensive accumen. Displays a well above average ability to read developing plays and has always been more of a pass first type of offensive player. Can snap around passes or deftly elevate saucer passes with both sides of his blade. Incredibly shifty and evasive in his footwork, Rizzo is cabaple of beating defenders in a multitude of ways. He shows deception to his attack with an ability to create off of the rush with a blend of speed and skill equally as well as he does when delaying to let his teammates catch up. Skates with a powerful stride, getting low to generate movement through his acceleration and at top speed. Rizzo is more than competent in defensive situations due to his high degree of awareness but can find himself getting outmuscled by larger opponents in puck battles that he isn’t able to use his agility to slip away from. Has a fantastic release on a his shot along with pin point accuracy. At times can be over patient with the puck and rely too much on his stickhandling at the offensive blueline instead of playing a more straight forward game when its called for. If Rizzo can continue to fill out his frame and work to eliminate some of the inconsistencies in his game, he will obviously be a dominant player in the BCHL in the 19/20 season. A team looking for a skilled winger with plenty of flash to his game will be after a player like the slightly undersized Rizzo, who will benefit greatly from the added four years of potential development that the NCAA route will provide. (Kevin Williams/June 2019)