It wasn't quite a my-way-or-the-highway offer, but when Rouyn-Noranda Huskies coach Andre Tourigny sat down with forward Jean-Sebastien Dea in late December last year, he had a simple message for his young forward: Play our way or you won't be playing.
Dea took the message to heart, finished last season on an upswing and has had an explosive start to the 2012-13 season. With a goal and an assist Friday against Drummondville, Dea leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 16 goals and 26 points in 12 games. After going undrafted last year, the 18-year-old center rapidly is becoming a hot commodity.
"I'm really more popular because of him," Tourigny told NHL.com.
That didn't sound like something that would happen at the start of last season. Dea, a third-round pick of the Huskies in the 2011 QMJHL draft, said when he joined the team he was overwhelmed by the level of play and struggled to keep up.