It’s too bad that the Penguins aren’t doing a cooking class for the prospects at this year’s development camp, because Brian Dumoulin probably could have instructed his fellow prospects on the art of preparing food.
Unlike a lot of young men his age living on their own, the 20-year-old defenseman – acquired from Carolina as part of the Jordan Staal trade – is quite the chef and enjoys whipping up meals for his teammates, roommates and friends.
“The best thing I can make is mushrooms and asparagus with a little teriyaki sauce,” Dumoulin grinned, who occasionally tweets photos of his culinary masterpieces from his Twitter account (@Du24theboyz). “It’s a household favorite. … Cooking is just something I have a passion for.”
Dumoulin’s not just a good cook – we’d venture to say he’s a pretty talented hockey player, too.
In three seasons at Boston College before turning pro at the conclusion of his junior year, Dumoulin racketed up the accolades and honors – starting with his two NCAA national titles.
He absolutely stood out on the college hockey powerhouse’s roster, winning back-to-back Hockey East Best Defensive Defenseman awards, earning First-Team All-American honors two seasons in a row and being named one of the top-10 Hobey Baker Award (best college player) finalists his junior season.
Oh, and he won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2011 World Junior Championship. So needless to say, the Penguins are thrilled to have a player of Dumoulin’s caliber in the organization...and he's happy to be here.
“He’s extremely excited to join our organization as we are for him to join,” said Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald. “He’ll be a big part of our future.”
"Carolina was awesome to me," Dumoulin said. "They selected me in the draft, my time being there was awesome. They developed me pretty well. But now that I’m moving on to Pittsburgh, I’m really excited. A lot of familiar faces in the Pittsburgh organization and the success that they’ve had over the past years gets me even more excited."
So yes, Dumoulin comes to Pittsburgh having produced an incredible college career. But, as he alluded to in his last quote, he also comes to his new organization with a certain sense of familiarity. Here’s why.
Legendary Eagles coach Jerry York implemented the Penguins’ method of defensive execution, even showing his players tape of Pittsburgh’s defensive zone puck retrievals, breakouts and neutral zone transition.
“That’s one thing that’s awesome, is that Boston College kind of emulated the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Dumoulin said. “One of the main things as a defenseman is puck retrievals and going back for the puck and communicating with your partner. That’s something that we had to do at Boston College, which was almost the exact same system that Pittsburgh runs with their defenseman. It was kind of good and familiar to me when we went through that today.”
While Dumoulin warned that we shouldn’t be looking for him to post gaudy numbers points-wise, he said he enjoys playing in an aggressive, offensive-minded system.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a flashy offensive defenseman, but I like to play solid in my defensive zone,” he said. “Puck retrievals are key for me, as is getting that first pass and getting the puck out of the zone. Also jumping up and being that fourth guy in the play. Not leading the rush, but jumping up and being able to get up there and create offense as well.”
And not only is Dumoulin comfortable with what’s happening on the ice, he also has former Boston College teammates Brian Gibbons and Philip Samuelsson here at camp this week to help ease the transition.
But while Dumoulin said it certainly helps to have familiar faces, he’s not using that as an excuse to stay wrapped up in a BC bubble. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
“They allow me to meet more people,” he said. “Brian and Philip Samuelsson have already played a year pro and know a lot of the guys and the faces around here. If I kind of just follow them around and meet some other people, that can only benefit me.”
Dumoulin’s already got impressive size at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. While he wants to continue to get stronger this summer, he’s also got specific areas of his game he’s honed in on and plans to improve to make it at the NHL level.
“I think gap control is huge, because if you can limit the other team’s time and space, that comes with quicker footwork and just being more agile,” he said. “I think that’s always something you can improve upon, especially when you’re making the jump to the NHL. Hopefully I can limit my time in the AHL and make the jump to the NHL.”