Boo Nieves talks first NHL Prospects Tournament with Rangers

Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey
Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey


By @StefanKubus –

After four years with the University of Michigan, Boo Nieves is ready to make a name for himself at the professional level.

Nieves, a second-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2012, first tasted professional hockey at the tail end of the 2015-16 season, recording five points in eight AHL games.

In his first experience at the NHL Prospects Tournament – and first trip to Traverse City – he wore the captain’s ‘C’ and played alongside highly-touted free-agent signing Jimmy Vesey.

“It’s a pretty cool honor honestly,” Nieves said of the captaincy. “I feel like I’ve been a part of this organization for a pretty long time now. To wear the ‘C’ with all these guys that I’ve known through the last development camps. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

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Nieves is certainly a player that can’t wait to make a difference on the ice, which was evident during overtime of the Rangers’ first tilt against Carolina.

“Definitely standing over the boards a few times,” Nieves said. “We were just excited to get out there. We want to make things happen.”

In 144 collegiate games wearing maize and blue, the speedy Nieves potted 28 goals and 110 points.

Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey
Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey


“It was pretty similar,” Nieves said of the pace compared to college. “Guys are pretty quick, everyone’s skilled. Everybody’s within a fraction of each other here, so you really have to be on you’re A-game to make a difference.

“I feel like I’ve always been a fast and smart player but at this level, you need the strength to really separate yourself from everybody else.”

That’s exactly what Nieves worked on this summer with renowned trainer Ben Prentiss. Prentiss has worked with the likes of Martin St. Louis and Torey Krug.

“A lot of my strength came from working with Ben Prentiss this summer. I changed up my workout and my whole diet, and I feel like I gained a lot of strength, and I feel like it’s starting to show on the ice.

It wasn’t anything specific that Nieves said he did differently, but rather training with more consistency.

“Just making sure I was in the gym every single day. I think I went in there around 208-209 [pounds] and I’m almost 220 now, so I definitely put on a lot of weight and a lot of strength.”

As he mentioned, that 220-pound frame he built is a far cry from what he carried in his freshman season with the Wolverines.

“Going in as a freshman, I was pretty skinny and I felt like I was getting pushed around a little, but as the years went on, I put on a little weight and became more of a man.”

That’s exactly one of the things the Rangers wanted him to do in his four years in Ann Arbor, too.

“Being in college for four years allowed me to learn the game and develop offensively and, more importantly, defensively,” Nieves said. “Obviously to become stronger and bigger. The first thing New York said to me when they drafted me was to go to Michigan, become a man and then come to us when you’re ready. I think that’s what we’re doing now.”