There seems to be a belief that Pierre-Luc Dubois is someone
who has gone skyrocketing up the draft charts throughout the season, and that
CHL Top Prospect was the call to arms to start giving Dubois the attention he
deserves. Really, it’s just been a couple of rankings like Craig Button’s
(Dubois has gone from 21st in September to 4th in March)
and Future Considerations (20 spot jump from September to October) that didn’t
have him in their top 15 to begin the year.
Dubois is now ranked 4th overall by 3 of the 9
rankings used in the TLN Consolidated Rankings which still have him 6th
overall. Craig Button, Draft Buzz Hockey, and Hockeyprospect.com all have him
as the best option after the Finns, while a couple of others have him at 9th
to balance that out.
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Like Tkachuk, Nylander, Laine and Puljujarvi, Dubois is
making the case for taking skilled wingers at the top of the draft as the
safest bet after Matthews. It also seems as we’re getting closer to June the
winger with the greatest momentum is Dubois, so let’s find out why he’s so well
liked.

By the Numbers

Alright, the argument for Dubois is extremely simple, and
speaks to the most fundamental part of the game. Dubois scores goals and puts
up points. Here’s a very telling table speaking to that…
Dubois for the most part was chasing down Conor Garland for
most of the season, and as far as his draft class goes, Vitali Abramov and
Julien Gauthier were his stiffest competition.
Where Dubois differs from a prospect like Tkachuk, is that
Pierre was far and away his team’s leader in points. With a 20 point advantage
and 9 goal advantage over the next closest players on his team, there isn’t the
same doubts about who was responsible for generating the offense.
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What He Does Well…

Dubois may be the next best thing to Patrik Laine and Jesse
Puljujarvi if a team is disappointed they missed out on the Finns. He has
similarities to Laine when it comes to being a creative power forward with
strong finishing abilities. And he has a bit more of Puljujarvi’s defensive
zone responsibility.
Dubois can also draw some similarities to Tkachuk in that
none of his abilities stand out as the best in his draft class, but it’s in his
ability to use his above average abilities well that makes him one of the top
prospects in 2016.

Drawbacks

One of the downsides has to be that like Laine, his skating
isn’t high end and certainly wouldn’t even be up to the level of Laine’s. He
has the long stride, but nothing about his abilities here are remarkable.
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And like Puljujarvi, Dubois isn’t overly physical with his
6’3, 200 lb frame. He’s by no means timid, but there might be more of a
learning curve to the NHL with Dubois than maybe you’d see with Tkachuk or
Laine.

What others are
saying about him…

“Scouts like Dubois’ skill, smarts
and size, and see him as a solid all-around player. He’s not physical, but that
aspect of his game may come as he physically matures. He has the makings of a
top-six forward in the NHL who can play in any situation.
“Not the best in
any category but capable in every category,” said an NHL scout who has
observed Dubois.
Dubois said he likes
to study the game of Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn. Benn is
listed at 6-2 and 210 pounds, so there’s a similar build to Dubois.”
“At Red Line, we would agree Dubois
doesn’t catch your eye with a blazing stride, but he is above average in a
straight line and stops and starts effectively for a teenager who hasn’t yet
flled out his bottom half. By all accounts, it was that slightly sub-par leg
strength that contributed to him winding up just on the wrong side of the line
at Canada’s world junior camp. He survived the frst round of cuts, but didn’t
make it through the fnal cull. He was the youngest player invited to try out.”

Does He Make Sense
For the Leafs?

It’s the same wing story for the Leafs, if you’ve been
reading some of the other draft profiles on TLN. Dubois would undoubtedly be
one of, if not the top winger prospect on the Leafs, a team in the need of more
offense, but if there is a position of strength in the Leafs organization it’s
probably the wing.
Dubois also lacks the organizational ties that Tkachuk and
Alexander Nylander have to the Leafs. He would be coming in solely on his
merits, which is perfectly fine, but given the organizational need for a center
or defenseman, it’s hard to ignore that Chychrun or McLeod would be more
appealing options if neither Finn is available.
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Conclusion

A blend of size and skill is hard to pass up and it’s likely
that Dubois won’t be waiting long to hear his name called because of it. Dubois
is by most accounts pretty close to being NHL ready, and that’s going to help
teams looking for a quick turnaround more than it is going to help a team like
Toronto that is wanting to take a methodical rebuild approach, so if you take
some of that readiness appeal away from Dubois, it looks like there are better
options.
With his talent, you’d still hope that Dubois doesn’t end up
in your division if you do pass on him.