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Roy used size, opportunity to develop into goal scorer

Hurricanes forward prospect scored 84 times past two seasons in QMJHL

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes forward prospect Nicolas Roy understood what kind of hockey player he was after his first two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"I always thought my best quality was my vision," Roy, 20, said at development camp, which ran from June 28-July 1. "I knew I could be offensive, but I thought I was more of a passer."

After scoring 16 goals in each of his first two seasons with Chicoutimi, Roy had 48 goals in 2015-16 and 36 last season.

"I worked a lot to be stronger and be in front of the net," Roy (6-foot-4, 208 pounds) said. "Being there on the power play, I score a lot of goals. I'm stronger and my explosion is a little bit faster, so that's pretty much why I think I've had more goals."

The Hurricanes already were believers, selecting him in the fourth round (No. 96) of the 2015 NHL Draft, before his goal-scoring breakout.

"He was drafted No. 1 overall in the [2013] QMJHL [Entry Draft]," Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said. "We felt there was a talented kid there. He was from a small town, speaking French, trying to learn English. He was getting used to a new environment. I don't think he had started training, per se. The fact that he slid to the fourth round was tremendous."

Roy's fortunes began to change when Chicoutimi coach Yanick Jean gave him the chance to use his big frame on the power play in 2015-16. Roy had 20 power-play goals that season and 16 last season.

"After that season I saw I was able to score goals, and I take pride in that," Roy said.

Video: Breaking down the roster of the new-look Hurricanes

Roy likely will start this season with Charlotte of the American Hockey League, where he can further develop an already well-rounded game. With his strong stride, he is difficult to knock off the puck. He has the hands of a goal scorer and the hockey sense to put his skill to use.

"In the NHL pretty much every goal is scored in front of the net," he said. "I'm just going to keep going in front."

That is exactly what Francis wants to hear.

"That helps you score some goals if you're willing to stand in there and pay the price, and Nic is willing to do that with his size and strength," he said. "That just sort of breeds confidence. You kind of go from there and say, 'Hey, I can score goals in this League,' ... And he's continued to do that."

There is no telling if his touch around the net will continue as a professional. Even Roy isn't sure he could have forecast his high goal totals the past two seasons.

"I believe in myself, but at 18 if you would have asked me before the season if I thought I could have 90 points and 48 goals, maybe I would have said no," he said. "But I also knew I could score."

With a full set of offensive skills, Roy looks more like an NHL prospect than anyone imagined two seasons ago.

"On ice, he gives you everything he's got each and every shift," Francis said. "When you've got an attitude and a compete level like that, you think that guy has certainly got a chance to play for you one day."

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