I think my consistency is a lot better than it was, maybe last year and at the beginning of the year. I’ve always been a 200-foot player, I’m smart on the ice, but bringing it every shift and every game has been a big improvement this year. - Pierre-Luc Dubois
Pierre-Luc Dubois was one of the 1.57 million viewers who tuned into the NHL Draft Lottery on April 30th.
After all, the 17-year-old had a vested interest. That lottery will help dictate his future employer.
“Sitting on my couch or working out, there’s not much to do,” Dubois said. “Thinking about the draft, thinking about different situations that can happen, it’s hard not to think about it.”
But Dubois won’t have too much time to think when the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft rolls around. The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles standout will be among the first names called.
With good cause, too.
He finished third among Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) scorers with 42 goals and 99 points. Dubois went from being ranked seventh among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s midterm rankings to becoming the top ranked prospect by season’s end.
The spike surprised many.
“I don’t think underdog is the word I’d use, but I went up in the draft rankings this year and surprised some people by my ranking at the end of the year,” said Dubois, who had seven goals in 12 playoff games. “I try to be the best player I can. I believed in myself the whole time. I’m just happy where I am right now.”
The rating has led to increased scrutiny.
Increased pressure, too.
“Maybe a little bit,” admitted Dubois, a fifth overall pick by the Screaming Eagles in the 2014 QMJHL Midget Draft. “The only pressure I see is being the best player I can, working hard and helping my team win, whether it’s in the Q or in the NHL. I don’t put extra pressure on myself because of that.”
Pressure comes though.
With receiving the Mike Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL’s top professional prospect.
By receiving the CHL’s Top Prospect Award as best pro prospect among NHL draft-eligible juniors.
They’re accolades bred out of his continued development. More specifically, consistency.
“I think my consistency is a lot better than it was, maybe last year and at the beginning of the year,” he said. “I’ve always been a 200-foot player, I’m smart on the ice, but bringing it every shift and every game has been a big improvement this year.”
The stats bear it out, too. Dubois had points in eight of his first nine games to start the season, but was held pointless in six of his next eight games.
And in late November, the Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, QC native pieced it together.
Dubois was held pointless in just nine of the remaining 45 games of the regular season.
Improvements in consistency have resulted in an improvement in draft stock.
It has added excitement to Dubois’ draft experience.
It has added impatience, too.
“Knowing where I might start my NHL career, my pro career, it’s really exciting,” he said. “It’ll be fun to experience that with my friends and family and everything. It’s all about the process. The best advice I’ve gotten from a guy that’s been drafted is really enjoy it. It only happens once in your life.
“It might be long and it might take a while, but it’ll be worth it.”