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Duhaime Can Do A Bit Of Everything On The Ice

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Nate Leaman said plenty of players can score, but far fewer can score in the postseason.

But consider Minnesota Wild prospect Brandon Duhaime among that select group.

Duhaime, the Wild's fourth round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, will be one of Leaman's — the head coach of the Friars — newest pupils this season at Providence College.

"To play at the end of the year, and be an effective player at the end of the year, you really have to be able to play with little space." Leaman said on the incoming freshman. "You have to be able to play in the dirty areas. You have to be able to play strong, heavy, smart hockey to score and to be effective at the end of the year, and Brandon certainly did that very well in Tri-City, and that's what we're excited about.

"A lot of that transitions to our level."

Where Duhaime's draft stock increased in this his draft-eligible season, Leaman said a big part of that was the 6-foot right winger's move to the United States Hockey League from the British Columbia Hockey League.

"He was a little hidden. When he got to Chicago it was kind of evident what a good player he was," said Leaman, who said Duhaime was noticeable from the minute he began scouting him. "The first game I watched him play he had eight shots on goal in the game. He's a good player."

And Duhaime was able to sustain a level of success in the USHL that kept him on draft radars, and moving up draft boards. He had 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games for the Chicago Steel before getting traded to the Tri-City Storm at the deadline.

In Tri-City, Duhaime had five goals and 10 points in 18 regular season games down the stretch, before recording four goals and eight points during the Storm's playoff run, which culminated in winning a Clark Cup.

Duhaime scored an empty-net goal in the Cup-clinching game, and had two goals in Clark's three-game sweep of Dubuque.

"He can be the shooter on the line, or he can distribute," Leaman said. "He plays a heavy game, and he can play a game on the rush. I've seen him play with the best players on any team in any league, and he complements those guys, or he makes them better."

Leaman's scouting report of Duhaime was something of a Swiss-army knife; he said one of Duhaime's major strengths is ability to fill so many different roles effectively.

"His strength is just that he does everything well," Leaman said. "He's like a Lee Stempniak is what he is; he's that kind of player. He's got the heavy and thick build, and he can do just about anything you want."

Leaman said one of the keys to players making smooth transitions to the college level, and to Hockey East, the conference Providence plays in, one of the best in the nation, is doing everything at an escalated pace, and with less space to operate with.

"But Brandon is a pretty smart player, and like I said, I've seen him play every different type of game," Leaman said. "I'm pretty confident he's going to be an effective player right from the get-go."

Leaman said Duhaime would definitely slot into his top-nine when he begins his freshman season, if not his top-six forwards.

"He's got a lot more skill than I think people give him credit for," Leaman said. "He has a really good stick. He can make plays in traffic, he can make plays through sticks, and he can make plays with guys hanging on him. I really think the world of him."

Much of Leaman's assessment and praise mirrored what Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr had to say after Minnesota selected Duhaime on day two of the draft.

"He just does a lot of things right when he's on the ice, whether it's puck management — he goes to the hard areas, he's hard to play against, and he'll fight if he has to," Flahr said. "He has a good understanding of the game at both ends of the rink, and we feel his strength and skating will shift well."

Leaman also said Duhaime plays a heavier game, which fits into Providence's identity, and played a big role in its recruitment of the Florida native.

"He's going to fit in really well. I don't see a big adjustment with that," Leaman said. "The only thing is just making sure at our level that you're moving your feet, and not reaching. When you're reaching with your stick that's when you're going to get in trouble, and that's when you're going to draw calls. You have to keep your feet moving, and make sure you're playing the game with your feet."

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