FC Scout Series: Ryan English (QMJHL)

Special To FC2013 Draft Center, Scouts Series

Future Considerations’ QMJHL scout Ryan English gives his thoughts on who from the 2013 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.

To go even deeper into the draft class, pick up Future Considerations’ 2013 NHL Draft Guide.

2013 will be a banner year for the QMJHL at the NHL Draft. The current crop of ’95s is a strong one, as good as any since – well, nothing recently. From the past five drafts — 2008 to 2012 — there were 10 players from the QMJHL taken in the first round (2008-0, 2009-4, 2010-1, 2011-4, 2012-1). This year, we could see as many as nine players selected in the first round, with six currently residing in Future Considerations’ Final Ranking for the 2013 NHL Draft.

What a year to be taking it all in, from Halifax of all places.

Who impressed?

Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens always caught eyes playing in Halifax and had me looking at my roster to be sure this guy was really a rookie ’95. Getting home after my first viewing in October, I remember looking into his history – wow, a first round QMJHL draft pick coming off a Telus Cup where he won MVP and top scorer. Mental note to self – next time Chicoutimi is in town, focus even more on Dauphin.

Dauphin was better a month later. His skating was awesome, a rare combination of a long sturdy stride and excellent agility coming from his edge work. He was an absolute terror for defenders down low — his great 10 foot game and quickness created space whenever and where ever he needed it. He was very sneaky as a forechecker and used body positioning and stick work to unfold opponents breakouts instead of muscle.

Similar to Jonathan Drouin, Dauphin was dangerous on the rush because he has great poise and control with the puck and can beat you going north-south or east-west, pick your poison.

Come the Top Prospects Game in January, I was excited to see Dauphin’s name on the roster. Apparently National Hockey League scouts were equally intrigued to see what he would do with better linemates.

He didn’t disappoint. Dauphin responded with a hat-trick and MVP in the contest. Dauphin then proceeded to take over the World Under-18’s, getting better as the tournament went on and becoming Canada’s second most dangerous player after the 2015 eligible Connor McDavid.

Who disappointed?

Anthony Duclair has fallen short of the electric player I was expecting each time I saw him this year.

Duclair is known as an exciting player — the finisher type with speed, one of hockeys most eye-catching players. I found myself waiting for that big play but never got to see one this year. Duclair’s speed was evident, but his hockey sense and compete level did not earn him enough opportunities or open space to get a shot off or find himself open for an offensive zone pass.

Duclair’s defensive game is the biggest concern for me, as he used his speed defensively in the Top Prospects Game but took long crossover turns when the play changed directions and had trouble finding comfortable defensive positions against Halifax. Which Duclair will play defense for me at the next level? If I was an NHL scout, I wouldn’t want to vouch for him then find out.

I can foresee a few casual draft followers getting excited about the ‘steal’ they get in Duclair, a first round talent in the ____ round come June 30th. He has steal potential, but I would shy away until the later rounds as his game needs a lot of rounding before he’s ready to take a regular NHL shift.

The Sleeper

Marc-Olivier Roy is a spark plug coming from the disciplined Blainville-Boisbriand Armada program.

Roy is certainly not a household name in the prospect world, but I feel he should be. To earn power play, penalty kill and first line 5-on-5 minutes with one of the leagues toughest coaches in J-F Houle tells the hockey world you’re doing something right.

Roy is a good skater with excellent foot speed and good agility. He needs to widen his skating base a bit and add some bulk but that will come with time and hard work. He isn’t afraid to go to dirty areas or finish checks and plays a very North-South game for a six-foot, 170-pound player. His build appears smaller on the ice, and he will never be mistaken for a power forward but his vision and hustle are a rare combination amongst prospects.

He is a prospect that could go either way – an energy/checking guy, or a skilled forward who will go anywhere to score goals.

Article by Ryan English