C, Calgary (WHL)
Scoring 30 goals in a major-junior hockey season is no small feat and those who reach the 30-goal plateau in their teen years are often setting the stage for bigger things to come.
In 2005-06, Rangers prospect Brodie Dupont didn't just reach 30 goals for the Calgary Hitmen, he also doubled his points total from his draft year and continued to show the promise that led the Rangers to select him in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry draft.
"Brodie is turning into the offensive player we hoped he would be," Rangers Head Coach Tom Renney said of the 19-year-old from Russell, Manitoba. "He is very smart and has good instincts. He has a nice set of hands and shoots the puck better than he maybe gets credit for."
Coached in Calgary by former Rangers captain Kelly Kisio, Dupont turned his 2005-06 season into a smashing success. The Hitmen assistant captain finished the season with 30 goals and 23 assists for 53 points and 123 penalty minutes in 72 games. He also led the team in goals and points, fourth in assists, while also leading the team in power-play goals with 14.
Last spring, Dupont carried his strong play into the WHL postseason, tallying four goals and five assists for nine points and 24 penalty minutes in 13 playoff appearances. He ranked second on the Hitmen in playoff goals and fourth playoff points, and when the season drew to a close, he was awarded the team's Enmax Humanitarian Award as well as the Remax 3 Star Award.
Weighing in at a solid 6-2, 206 lbs, Dupont has the size in addition to the skill needed to succeed in the NHL. A true competitor not affected by physical play, he demands constant attention on the ice. He is able to spin off even the most effective of checks, can muscle through defenders, and can hold his own when confronted by other teams' enforcers. When he parks his big body in front of the net, Dupont is almost impossible to move, and he relishes the opportunity to bang bodies.
"I have a pretty good hockey sense," he said. "I am strong on my feet and hard to knock off the puck. I like to grind along the corners and score goals right in front of the net. That's how I score probably 90 percent of my goals."
Renney was well aware of the strides Dupont has been making.
"He plays a significant role in Calgary," Renney said. "He is good player for us in terms of his toughness and ability and willingness to grind it out. We know he can score, but we don't need him to be a 50-goal scorer in this league. What we do need is for him to bring the physical aspects of his game night in and night out along with what he can do with the puck offensively. I anticipate that his time is coming."
Dupont attended the Rangers' 2006 prospect camp at the Blueshirts' practice facility.
Yet despite all his success, Dupont is very upfront and honest in assessing all aspects of his game.
"I still feel I need to improve my foot speed and driving wide, because that is what the game is going towards," he said. "I also am really focused on coming out of the gates strong this season. Traditionally, I have had some slow starts so I am aiming to bust out of the gates this year and keep the pace up all year long and be as consistent as I can."
While the popular forward has enjoyed playing in the WHL and is looking forward to a run at the Memorial Cup this season, he already has his eyes on the professional level.
"At the end of the season I am eligible to come up to Hartford so I want to have a good, strong showing in Calgary when I go back there," Dupont said. "My first goal is to help Calgary win the Memorial Cup. But if that doesn't happen, the goal is always in the back of your mind that if your team gets knocked out to get called up to the AHL. Hopefully, they'll like what they see because I leave everything out on the ice. That would great exposure and it would be good for me. "-- Ricky Henne
|BRODIE DUPONT - 2005-06 STATISTICS |
|C ||Calgary (WHL regular season) ||72 ||30 ||23 ||53 ||123 ||14 ||0 ||5 |
| ||Calgary (WHL playoffs) ||13 ||4 ||5 ||9 ||24 ||3 ||0 ||1 |