SAINT-JEAN, NB | A season of 56 goals, a record in the entire Canadian Hockey League (CHL), an invitation to Team Canada junior camp and, as a bonus, the title of most valuable player in the QMJHL: the New York Islanders could hardly ask for better from their 2020 fifth-round pick, William Dufour.
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With 116 points, Dufour finished second in QMJHL scoring behind Joshua Roy (119 points).
“It would be difficult to be happier with his progress, mentioned to the Log Quebec Islanders scout Mario Saraceno, present in Saint-Jean for the Memorial Cup tournament. All credit goes to him. »
This progress has also pushed the Islanders to grant him a first professional contract, last April.
“When I think back to my season, I get chills,” said the 6-foot-3, 204-pound guy. I lived through several big events, including the World Juniors camp, and I also managed to score more than 50 goals. If we can end this with the Memorial Cup championship, it would just be a dream season. »
Dufour’s offensive bloom can be explained not only by the fact that he is in his fourth season in the QMJHL, but also by the role entrusted to him by head coach Gordie Dwyer.
“Last year in Drummondville, [Xavier] Simoneau and I played in all situations, both shorthanded and late in the game to maintain a lead. This year, I haven’t really had any shorthanded playing time. My role was really offensive and on the power play. »
However, after the Sea Dogs’ surprise elimination in the first round of the playoffs against the Rimouski Oceanic, Dwyer was fired and Gardiner MacDougall joined. Since then, the latter entrusts more defensive missions to the big right winger native of Quebec.
“He can play everywhere, both in the center and on the wing. When you have the fastest racehorses, you want to use them. William is one. […] He is an enthusiastic and hungry young man. It’s impressive to see the season he’s had. He was traded to a new team and he seems to have taken advantage of it. It’s a privilege for me to lead it and I hope I will do so for as long as possible,” said MacDougall.
If he continues his progress, Dufour could make Saraceno look good in a few years.
“He could make us look good,” he says when the remark is made to him. Our development team works very hard with all our young people, including William. What we like is that he still has room to strengthen himself. In addition, I found that he had improved his skating considerably this year. »
In the case of Dufour, he hopes to be one of those players who can be characterized as a “theft” in relation to his selection rank, in the fifth round.
“When I was drafted, the first thing my agent said to me: ‘it’s only a rank, it’s a rank’. At the end of the day, I believe in my chances of succeeding in professional hockey. Now everything is in my hands, so why not? »
The future will go through Jordan Tourigny
The Shawinigan Cataractes are at the end of a cycle and, next year, the Mavrik Bourque, Xavier Bourgault and Pierrick Dubé will no longer be there. However, they will not be completely empty-handed and will rely on a few pieces around which they can start the next cycle, starting with defender Jordan Tourigny.
The team’s first-round pick in the last QMJHL draft, Tourigny not only carved out a place for himself as a regular with the Cataractes, but played a more than important role there.
In the team’s first Memorial Cup game on Tuesday, he was leading the first wave of the power play. It was in such a situation that he scored his team’s first goal against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with him for a while. He is first and foremost a very positive individual. He always has a big smile and he wants to work. It is a sponge and its retention capacity is enormous. We worked a lot in October and November and now we are elsewhere. You can see his confidence. His game has been going very well for several months and there, everyone has the chance to see him on TV. What’s fun with Jordan is that you don’t yet know where his ceiling is, ”said Cataractes assistant coach Philippe Roy, in charge of defenseman development.
BIG BROTHER’S ADVICE
Jordan is the brother of defender Miguël, who completed his junior career with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and who will now be trying to land a professional contract in the coming months.
“We talk to each other very often, almost every evening. He looks at my games and he calls me and tells me what I did right and wrong. He is often proud of me and he is there to encourage and help me. We have a very
nice relationship. »
An offensive defender by nature, it is more on the defensive aspect of his game that he must work.
“My defensive game will never be perfect. I have to keep perfecting the little details by continuing to practice and listening to the coaches. There will never be anything perfect, but I try to improve myself in order to become an irreproachable player. »
The Cataractes took advantage of a day off from practice on Wednesday in preparation for their next game Thursday night against the Ontario champions, the Hamilton Bulldogs.