Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at William Dufour.
Drafted 6th overall in the 2018 QMJHL Draft by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, William Dufour is already on his third QMJHL team. He also had a stint with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, before finally finding a home with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He started this season in Chicoutimi and had 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 31 games. Dufour really broke out after he moved to Drummondville. He put up 18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points in 28 games.
In 2018-19 Dufour had just five goals and three assists for eight points in 29 games with Rouyn-Noranda. After moving to Chicoutimi, he put up four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 26 games. He also added one goal in four playoff games. Dufour also played for Team Canada Red at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, putting up two goals in six tournament games. Dufour played his midget hockey with the Séminaire St-François Blizzard. He scored 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 36 games. He also added one goal and three points in six playoff games. Dufour also played for Team Quebec White at the QGC-16, putting up four goals and seven points in five games.
William Dufour Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born January 28th, 2002 — Quebec City, Quebec
Height 6’3″ — Weight 195 lbs [191 cm / 88 kg]
Dufour’s skating is a bit hit and miss. There are some very good aspects including his first step, his speed and his acceleration. He has no problem keeping up with the play or getting in quickly on the forecheck. Dufour also has a powerful stride, he can fight through checks and keep going towards the net. He is strong on the puck and wins battles in the corners and in front of the net. However, Dufour can use work on his edgework and agility. He loses speed on his turns and lacks a bit of lateral agility. Dufour is more willing to go through a defender than around one but could stand to improve this aspect of his game.
A power forward type, Dufour drives the net effectively both with and without the puck. Once he gets there, he can finish with the quick hands to get the puck up quickly. He can also create havoc, screening goalies, fighting for his position, tipping in pucks, pouncing on rebounds, and quickly firing in passes from teammates. Dufour can also score from further out. He has a powerful wrist shot and a strong one-timer. His wrist shot features a quick release and his ability to change angles can be deceptive for goaltenders. He also has a knack for finding the open areas of the ice where a teammate can get him a pass to create a scoring opportunity.
More of a goal scorer than a playmaker, Dufour creates the majority of his assists through hard work. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and loves to hit defenders going back to retrieve loose pucks. This puts a lot of pressure on the defender and causes mistakes. Dufour uses his body to protect the puck on the cycle. He is not going to make a lot of creative moves or passes but he keeps the puck moving with smart passes and then looks for open ice. He is strong on the boards, with the ability to win puck battles.
Dufour brings the gritty style to his own end of the ice as well. He brings good backpressure and is willing to support the defence against the cycle game. This is another area where he is willing to use his size and strength to play a physical game. He is also good away from the puck. Dufour reads the play well and uses a long stick to cut down passing lanes and take away the opponent’s options. Once a turnover is created, he looks to make the smart pass to start the transition game. He is not afraid to block shots either. Dufour has been an effective penalty killer.
Projection and Comparison
Dufour has many of the skills that teams are looking for in a power forward prospect. Consistency has been a major issue. While he put up big numbers in his half a season with the Voltigeurs, his production prior to that was disappointing. The question remains if this is Dufour finding a new level of his game, or if it is just a half-season hot streak. If he develops, he could be a top-six forward. However, even if his offensive game falls off, his size, skating, and defensive play could still land him an NHL job. Dufour’s game is reminiscent of Jake DeBrusk. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of William Dufour that are available on youtube and twitter.
— QMJHL (@QMJHL) September 14, 2018
Really nice assist by William Dufour, as he comes back to the support the puck in his own zone and chips the puck past Villeneuve before feeding Isiah Campbell on the 2-on-0 #2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/1Q2DqV5s13
— Brandon Holmes (@BHolmes_Hockey) April 28, 2020
— Brandon Holmes (@BHolmes_Hockey) April 28, 2020
But on the next play, Seth Jarvis set up William Dufour again, but this time, Dufour scored. 4-3 victory for Canada Red, which gives every single team in Group B a victory. #WorldU17 pic.twitter.com/E59hHmsZji
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) November 6, 2018
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
William Dufour Main Photo:
— World U17 Challenge (@HC_WU17) November 6, 2018