We actually ranked Nick Cousins ahead of Daniel Catenacci for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. You could see the potential in his offensive game, and it was enough to rank him fairly high. It's really nice to see him translate this at the OHL level.
Nick is the kinda guy you hate to play against, but like to have him on your team. There have been pests with far less talent than Cousins make the NHL so in that sense I think Nick is a pretty safe bet to be a regular in the NHL in a few years. I personally see him as a 3rd line forward who can frustrate the opposition and contribute a little offense but also a guy you can move around onto different lines and utilize as an agitator because he has the hands that will help him keep up with more talented players.
He's never really been a flashy guy. he's scored a couple real beauty highlight reelers this year, but he's not a flashy guy. It's his hockey sense and awareness of the play around him that makes him a good offensive guy along with his hands.
If there's one thing that hurts him, he has a bit of a short fuse when things don't go well. You can see him going down trying to draw penalties, see the referee's talking to him as he's trying to sell and he loses focus on the task at hand. While it's happening less, that would be really the only concern I have is that he will sometimes take himself out of the game by getting too frustrated once in a while.
Cousins has a lot of talent, easily enough to be a top six forward capable of putting up 60+ points in the NHL but his personality and on ice antics are so bad I'm not sure he'll ever make the show because of it.
I can't say I like the kid, a few years ago he dove twice and acted like he was unconscious in the ice, drawing two five minute majors. He then laughed about it and said acted like it was a good thing in his intermission interview.
He doesn't seem to be a case of hated by other teams liked by his own like Downie is. Quite a few cases of players who he didn't get along with, Dan Catenacci is a good example.
One thing of interest is that he does seem genuinely interested (allegedly) in maturing. Going with the Marchand comparison, not that I think he will be as good as Brad - Brad's attitude was just as **** in the juniours. So there is hope, whether or not it's just a glimmer of it remains to be seen I guess.
Switching this up a little, but can he play wing effectively? The big club is kind of set down the middle and adding Laughton and Cousins to the mix complicates things a bit. I assume Laughton would be less effective on the wing because of the type of game he plays. Cousins sounds like a different type of player who could be effective as 3rd line winger.