When it comes to the draft late-round picks, like fifth-rounders, are seen as...projects. There's potential but not enough to say that a path to the NHL is clear. That's how the New York Islanders, and the rest of the NHL felt with William Dufour.
There was enough talent there to take a chance on him but not enough to say that he'll for sure make the NHL. It would take some time and growing before we could expect him to even stand out.
Two years post draft and Dufour is impressing; big time.
New York Islanders prospect set franchise record for goals in single season
In the pre-season, I spoke to Dufour's GM Trevor Georgie about Dufour, a player he had just acquired in a trade that summer, and one of the big takeaways from that chat was that Georgie thought Dufour could hit 40 goals on the season.
Even for the QMJHL, a 40 goal scorer is very impressive. The 2022 season isn't over yet and William Dufour has not only hit 40 goals but he's exceeded it to the point of now holding the Saint John Sea Dogs' single-season record for goals.
On Saturday, Dufour scored twice for goals number 47 and 48 on the year. Goal 47 put him level for the franchise record, while goal number 48 put him above it.
And again the season isn't done yet. It won't end until May. He's got another 12 games left on the season to pile up the goals. At the rate he's scoring - 48 goals in 54 games - he's on pace to add another eleven goals on the year. Hitting 59 goals on the year would be insane.
The fact that he's a fifth-rounder makes it all the better. But it's not like he's some random player putting up random production at the QMJHL. Dufour is a sixth overall pick from the QMJHL draft. There was always the potential for him to be a top player in that league.
And look, this is the first year Dufour has been putting up the goals. Last year, his first post-draft year, Dufour scored 17 goals in 23 games. A pace that would have seen him score 49 over a full year. Which is effectively where he's at now. So he's taken a step up from last year.
There's something to thing kid. Will that something take him to the NHL? It's a bit early to say anything definitive, but it's clear he's ready for the pro's.