In January, when NHL Central Scouting Services released its midterm rankings of prospects eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, Pierre-Luc Dubois was ranked seventh amongst North American skaters. Then, he took off.
By season's end, Dubois had amassed 99 points (42+57) in 62 games for Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and ascended to No. 1 spot on Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, leapfrogging fellow forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Alex Nylander.
So, what happened?
"I think my consistency got better and better as the season went on," Dubois said at the Combine. "I played center after Christmas too so that was a different position, a new position for me to play and I think I played really well."
After playing on the wing his entire life, Dubois said he learned to become the type of center he would've liked to play with. He spoke to his wingers and defensemen and implemented their advice. At the next level, he says, he's ready to play either position.
It's that versatility that he prides himself on. Dubois described himself as a smart player who is both reliable defensively and equally able to shoot or pass the puck on offense. He has the advantage of having a father, Eric Dubois, who played nine professional seasons on defense.
The next step, he said, is to add more explosiveness to his game.
"I'm good at puck protection, good on the boards," he said. "If I can get to the open areas, open ice a little bit faster I think it'd be even better."
Dubois said that he did meet with the Sabres during Combine week. Whether or not he'll be available when Buffalo picks at No. 8 remains another story. If he does slide down, he could be an intriguing option for the Sabres on the left wing.