It doesn’t take long to see how diverse of a player Raphaël Bussières is.
His scoring touch is clearly evident and he is showing that once again this season in the QMJHL, potting 16 goals, 22 assist, and 38 points in 48 games for Baie-Comeau Drakkar. But Bussières also has a physical element to his game that should put him amongst the top power forwards available for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Bussières answered the bell and went toe-to-toe with Matthew Dumba at the CHL’s Top Prospects Game after his Team Orr linemate Radek Faksa was sent flying by the Red Deer Rebel defenseman. It was a move that showed he is more than willing to do what it takes to win, and it came from a kid who had missed time this season due to a concussion.
He is a throwback to hockey’s good old days, when players would police the game themselves. The six-foot-one, 192-pound left winger has excellent wheels to go with nice hands, tremendous vision and hockey sense, creates space for his teammates, plays hard along the boards and enjoys getting engaged physically, isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice and plays a smart, very effective north and south game.
I had the opportunity to catch up with the talented Bussières, for a quick Q and A.
Who has been your biggest influence and help in developing your game thus far?
Raphaël: My family has supported me all the way through my hockey career so far, and are always there for me.
What was your ‘welcome moment’ to the QMJHL?
Raphaël: Just scoring my first goal in the Q with Moncton against Halifax, it was a huge thrill.
After watching you at the Top Prospects game I was really impressed with your overall game, as you stood out as a great skating, high-octane power forward, that generated some good scoring chances. What do you see being your best attributes as a player?
Raphaël: Yes, I am an offensive player, that’s my role on a hockey team. I utilize my speed, hockey sense, and my physical game.
You had a spirited fight between Matt Dumba at the Prospects game, and have had a few over your QMJHL career. Do you have a favourite fight, and who has been your toughest opponent?
Raphaël: I guess Dumba was the toughest guy I’ve fought, but it went very well.
With all the talk about fighting eventually being eliminated in the NHL, and with you suffering a concussion earlier in the season (though not from a fight), what is your take on fighting in hockey?
Raphaël: I think it’s part of the game, and it’s gonna stay.
Is there an NHLer you model your game after?
Raphaël: I think I play a similar style to Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins.
What is the highlight of your career thus far?
Raphaël: The CHL Top Prospect Game was pretty sick.
I know being drafted into the NHL is a huge honor, but if you could pick the team that select’s you in 2012, who would you choose?
Raphaël: Montreal, it’s my hometown and I like the Canadiens.
In your opinion, who is the toughest defenseman to beat 1-on-1 in the Q?
Raphael: Rimouski Oceanic’s Jérôme Gauthier-Leduc, he’s highly skilled and a smart blueliner.
Any hidden talents?
Raphael: I’m a very good cook.