Louie & Nic Belpedio Iowa Wild & Lumberjacks Rising DefensemenNovember 16, 2018
Nic Belpedio is a recent addition to the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Spending the 2017-18 season on their affiliate list, he worked his way to a roster spot this season. Belpedio is a familiar name in the junior league, as Nic’s brother Louie Belpedio, also spent time in the USHL. Following in his footsteps, but not living in his shadow, Nic is making his own way to the pros.
Big Brother Louie Belpedio
Louie, a defenseman, was selected 80th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. Currently playing in the AHL for Minnesota’s affiliate, the Iowa Wild, Belpedio is making his way through the ranks. Initially spending two seasons in the USHL with the US Development Program, Louie garnered attention from the NCAA level. After being selected in 2014 by Minnesota, Louie committed to Miami University (Ohio).
The collegiate route is very beneficial to NHL teams, as it gives them four years to decide on a player. Whereas, the OHL or other international major-junior teams, only allow two seasons for the NHL team to decide. In Louie Belpedio’s case, the four years was amply used. Serving as captain three of the four years, Belpedio reached a career-high of 30 points in 37 games during his 2017-18 campaign.
Minnesota extended a professional tryout to Belpedio in light of his incredible collegiate career. He was assigned to the Iowa Wild where he would play 10 games and tallied two points. While with Iowa however, Belpedio got the call. The Wild, in the midst of a playoff run, was in need of a defenseman and Louie did not disappoint. Belpedio became the first-ever player in franchise history to record a multi-point game in his debut (2A). Louie returned to the Iowa Wild and has since signed a 2-year contract extension with them.
Nic Belpedio Making USHL Debut
Also a defenseman, Nic Belpedio, being five years younger than Louie, is only just now making his way through the
leagues. Nic, however, is no less impressive. Adopting a style all his own, gritty and determined, Nic is making the Belpedio name known through the USHL once again.
Acquired by the Muskegon Lumberjacks through a whirlwind of transactions with the Omaha Lancers, Nic landed on the Lumberjacks’ affiliate list. Having begun his first season in the USHL officially, its evident that Nic had put in the work during 2017-18 to earn his place. He’s not a high point producer yet but has the makings of a strong two-way player. He’s physical and skates well for his age. Currently skating beside Lumberjacks defensemen like Matt Staudacher and Alex Yakovenko, Belpedio has many opportunities for growth.
Much like older brother Louie, Nic has begun his rookie season in the USHL uncommitted, but that likely won’t be the case for long. He has a strong foundational set of defensive skills that will not go unnoticed for long.
Brothers Belpedio Making Moves
The brothers, though you could pick them out of a crowd, share similar styles but are each unique. Both Louie and Nic share a strong forecheck and drive. They are on the attack as soon as the puck is within striding distance and handle the boards well. Nic, even in only 12 games with Muskegon, has earned a lot of ice time. Though his points may not reflect his skill entirely, when watching him, you can see the development that has already taken place. He’s physical
Louie skates with veteran confidence though he’s only in his second season. He controls himself well on the ice and makes good decisions. He’s versatile, capable of both right and left-handed shooting, which has become a huge asset for the Wild.
Though Nic is a few years out of being within reach of the AHL or NHL, he stands a good chance come next season. As the veteran defenseman move on to their prospective colleges and alternate leagues, more ice time and responsibility will open up. Nic will be there to fill the gaps.
As for Louie, he’s gaining a lot of attention not only from Iowa Head Coach Tim Army, but the big league is taking notice too. As the season progresses, I won’t be surprised if Louie gets called up next time Minnesota is in need.