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Prospects

Dubois drawing motivation from World Juniors cut

Thursday, 01.07.2016 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Tim Wharnsby - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

When Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, 17, a top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, learned he wasn't going to play for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, he turned to a rival Quebec Major Junior Hockey League assistant coach for solace.

That coach was Rimouski assistant coach Eric Dubois, who also is Pierre-Luc's father.

And the fatherly advice was for Pierre-Luc to employ the experience as motivation.

"That's exactly what I told him," Eric Dubois said. "This wasn't the first time he was disappointed in hockey and it won't be the last time. I told him there have been lots of players like Tyler Seguin who for didn't play for Canada at the World Junior Championship and turned out pretty good.

"He knows what he wants to do and I think he's already shown that he has used this disappointment in the right way."

Kieffer Bellows looking to make own name in NHL

Thursday, 12.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

BUFFALO
-- Growing up with a famous name in a hockey family isn't totally uncommon for prospects in the 2016 NHL Draft, but for Kieffer Bellows, it means having to make your own way to the NHL.

Bellows is the son of former longtime NHL forward Brian Bellows, who played 1,188 games with 485 goals and 1,022 points in 17 seasons with five teams. Having a father that played in the NHL helped Kieffer get a close-up look of what it takes to excel on the ice.

"Watching his games now are different; they were black and white back then," Bellows said with a laugh during the 2015 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September. "Watching his games I see what he did and … kind of like when I watch my games, I kind of see the similarities in there, but he's taught me a lot."

Confidence key for Finnish draft prospect Laine

Thursday, 12.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

A little confidence has gone a long way for right wing Patrik Laine of Tappara in Finland in realizing his full potential.

Laine, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list, could very well be a top-five selection in the 2016 NHL Draft.

"Laine is a player with great offensive instincts and a nose for the net," said Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting. "He is not only a sniper, he's also a very effective playmaker and passer who knows his defensive duties. He has matured both on and off the ice."

Laine gained the attention of most scouts in April at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Switzerland when he scored eight goals and 11 points in seven games to help lead Finland to a silver medal. His offensive output was certainly surprising, considering he had just five goals and 12 points in 36 games while on loan with LeKi in Mestis in Finland's minor-league system.

BU's McAvoy next Long Island product to draw notice

Thursday, 12.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy has aspirations of joining the growing list of budding prospects from Long Island looking to someday earn a spot on an NHL roster.

"I'm from a city (Long Beach, N.Y.) that isn't known as a hockey hotbed," McAvoy said. "But the thing is there have been a lot of guys from Long Island having success and reaching the NHL. We've had a good little run of late."

Most recently, Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) were high selections in the NHL Draft. Milano went No. 16 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014; Bracco went No. 61 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015. They joined Rob Scuderi (Syosset, N.Y.), Mike Komisarek (West Islip, N.Y.) and Eric Nystrom (Syosset, N.Y.) as Long Island standouts to make it big in the NHL.

Penticton's Jost, Fabbro not vying for draft position

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

There's no competition between teammates, Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost declared.

Not even amongst roommates, either.

Bragging rights aren't on the line in whether he or Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro is first to hear his name called in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The pair, who share the same billet and have been attached at the hip the past couple years, isn't about the tongue-in-cheek rivalry.

"No, no, not at all," said Jost, who captains the Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. "People probably wonder who's going to go higher and whatnot, and I went higher in the [Western Hockey League] Draft than he did by one spot. Honestly, we don't care at all. If Dante goes higher than me, I'm going to be really happy for him. He's one of my best buddies. I'll be just as happy if he gets drafted higher than if I do. It's a cool experience to have a buddy with you. We're not really focused on who goes higher."

Erie's DeBrincat following in McDavid's footsteps

Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

It may surprise some to learn Erie Otters forward Alex DeBrincat has something in common with Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.

When DeBrincat was awarded the Ontario Hockey League's rookie of the year in 2014-15, he joined McDavid as the only other player in Otters history to win the trophy.

It's a pretty remarkable feat when you consider DeBrincat, of Farmington Hills, Mich., wasn't even considered among 299 picks in the 2013 OHL draft but later signed with the Otters as a free agent by way of Lake Forest Academy in Chicago in April 2014.

Tufte's mix of size, skill make him intriguing prospect

Thursday, 11.12.2015 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

If NHL teams are looking for a physically large forward with a skill set to match his size in the 2016 NHL Draft, then Riley Tufte will draw a lot of interest.

At 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, the Minnesota high school standout is one of the tallest forwards eligible for the 2016 draft and he understands having that kind of size at his age is useful.

"It's awesome," Tufte said before the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September. "I'm 6-5, and I know there's a couple other guys out here that are my size too, but it's just such an advantage to my reach. It's just an advantage to me."

Graham McPhee looking to follow father's footsteps

Thursday, 11.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Graham McPhee is hoping legendary collegiate coach Jerry York can do for him what he did for his father more than three decades ago.

George McPhee, who played seven seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils before beginning a successful managerial career, won the 1982 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player at Bowling Green State University under York.

"It was a great life experience to be able to play for Jerry York because he had his priorities in the right order for a young person in that family was first, education was second and then hockey," McPhee told NHL.com.

Mississauga's Day moves past 'exceptional' label

Thursday, 10.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Mississauga Steelheads defenseman Sean Day doesn't necessarily want to be known as exceptional. The 2016 NHL Draft prospect would prefer to be himself.

Day still is trying to move past the heightened expectations of being granted exceptional-player status and allowed to play in the Ontario Hockey League as a 15-year-old in 2013.

"To this day there's still pressure about it," Day said. "I'm kind of scrutinized more than anyone else because of that label. I can't really make excuses for it. I just kind of play and hopefully people see that I'm the same age as everyone else in the draft. I did play an extra year [in the OHL], but I'm on the same development curve as everyone else still. To me it doesn't really matter. I don't think too much about it. I just play."

Finnish talent Puljujarvi draws Selanne comparisons

Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Right wing Jesse Puljujarvi of Karpat in Finland, a top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, possesses all the tools scouts crave.

He has the size (6-foot-3, 203 pounds), strength and speed, is creative on the power play and can dominate 1-on-1. He could go as high as a top-five pick and, judging by his play so far this season in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, it's easy to see why. In 16 games the 17-year-old has four goals, four assists and 49 shots on goal while averaging 14:38 of ice time.

"He's a powerful skater with good speed and balance," said Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting. "He has outstanding hockey sense and reads the play well. He's a good playmaker with strong puck-handling skills. He can take advantage of 1-on-1 situations with his long reach."

His appetite to score goals is pretty obvious.

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