The number one ranked North American skater, Pierre-Luc Dubois is ranked fourth in our consensus 2016 NHL Entry Draft Rankings.
After spending the majority of the season ranked as the second best North American skater, Dubois leapfrogged Matthew Tkachuk and took over the number one spot after a fantastic and dominant second half to his season. That second half was with Dubois playing mostly centre, instead of his natural position of LW.
There are still questions around if Dubois can make the NHL as a centre, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Ste.-Agathe-des-Monts native is a fantastic prospect that can take over a game.
- Age: 17, 1998-06-24
- Birthplace: Ste.-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada
- Frame: 6’2.25″, 205 lbs.
- Position: C/LW
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
- Accomplishments/Awards: BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Ivan Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal (15/16), U18 WHC Bronze Medal (14/15), CHL Top Draft Prospect of the Year (15/16), QMJHL Second-All Star Team (15/16), QMJHL Best Professional Prospect (15/16)
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Pierre-Luc Dubois is an exceptionally well rounded prospect that should have scouts drooling heading into the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Big and strong, Dubois is also an excellent skater, agile and possessing plus two step quickness, that is equally capable of setting up dangerous scoring plays or burying the puck himself. He combines the ability to protect the puck with a quick and accurate release to create havoc in the offensive zone every time he touches the puck. Possessing elite on-ice vision and hockey sense, Dubois is a complete 200 ft player that that can out muscle even the strongest of opponents for loose pucks. Dubois is extremely versatile as he can play anywhere at forward, including excelling at winning draws when pushed into the middle, and can bully his way through traffic or along the boards. He currently has the penchant for taking too many minor penalties but much of that is due to his ability to dominate the opposition physically at the junior ranks.
Dubois was one of the best players in the QMJHL this season and nearly made Canada’s WJC team. I’ve never watched Dubois play and come away thinking he’s the best skater or the best puck handler in a given match, but he always makes a positive contribution. He’s incredibly well-rounded, though. Dubois can play both the wing and center effectively, but is more comfortable on the wing. He’s a skilled scorer with very good two-way hockey IQ who can flash high-end vision.He’s a very physically developed player, who is strong, competitive on the ice, drives to the dirty areas, and is committed to his fitness off the ice. Whenever Dubois gets into a 1-on-1 battle, he tends to come out with the puck. He’s not the fastest skater but he doesn’t slug around the ice, either. He projects as an NHL forward who can be slotted into a variety of roles, and has a low-risk factor on his projection.
Let’s start with the big question, can Dubois make his mark as a centre?
Many scouts believe he can and that the reason why jumped up in draft rankings was because of that. There are many who believe that Dubois will make a larger impact as a winger in the NHL. There are valid sides to both argument and it’s hard to predict when we are looking at an 18 year old with only 1/2 a season of regular shifts at centre. Dubois finished the season with a FO% of 50.4%.
No matter where he ends up, Dubois plays a game that will translate to the NHL, and that is something that will be hard to pass up.
At first glance, there isn’t really a flaw in his game – he has elite skating, shooting and hockey IQ. He uses his all of those and his size to protect the puck and create offence. He also has the explosive first couple of strides to separate himself from defenders. If it’s in a down low situation, Dubois isn’t afraid to get in there and muck it up. At this moment, there really isn’t a flaw to his game and it’s no wonder why teams would be tripping over themselves to select him.
Dubois started the season a little rocky, but around the 15-18 game mark of the season he began his steady climb and then hovered around 1.5 PPG. Dubois is a major creator of plays which is reinforced by his 83 primary points, which was first in the entire CHL amongst draft eligible players.
He was tied for 2nd in the QMJHL for shots (236) amongst draft eligible players and was 2nd in goals scored (42) by a draft eligible player in the CHL. His 112 PIM’s were first amongst QMJHL draft eligible players, so he brings that feisty play too. He will need to reign it in a bit at the next level.
It has been mentioned before, but a very impressive stat Dubois’s season is that he posted a GF% of 67.98% and GF%Rel of 20.8%. Both fantastic numbers for any player in any league.
Dubois was one of the last cuts for the U20 WJHC in December, and it’s a fair expectation that he will be a lock for the team if he goes back to junior. He followed all this up with 12 points in 12 playoff games. Unfortunately it resulted in him missing the U18 tournament.
It’s clear that Dubois is a great prospect with a lot to offer to whoever selects him, whether that be a winger or as a centre. He is confident he will be a centre, and a good one:
Here ya go, Canucks fans:
“I like playing center. I think in the long run, I can be a first-line center in the NHL.” — Dubois
— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) June 6, 2016
Given his second half and playoffs, he may be right. If that’s the case, Dubois is the second best centre available in this draft class.