New York Islanders prospect and Saint John Sea Dogs forward William Dufour was named as the QMJHL's most valuable player, taking home the 2022 Michel-Brière Trophy. Dufour tallied 116 points (56goals and 60 assists) in 66 games this season. He led the QMJHL in goals scored and ranked second overall in total points.
The breakout season came as a bit of a surprise. Dufour was selected by the Islanders in the fifth round, 152nd overall of the 2020 NHL draft after a 55-point season in 59 games. He followed his draft year with a strong showing in an abbreviated season tallying 29 points (17 goals, 12 assists) in 23 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Traded to the Sea Dogs for the 2021-22 season, Dufour took off as the QMJHL's most valuable player setting a Saint John's franchise record passing Danick Gauthier's 47 goals in a season with 56 and the first player since 2018 to score 50 goals when Alex Barre-Boulet scored 53.
Speaking of franchise records, Dufour's 116 points also broke Florida Panthers and former Sea Dogs forward, Jonathan Huberdeau's, franchise record of 105 points in a season. Dufour is commonly mistaken as an "over-ager" in the QMJHL, but truth be told he's not as he turned 20 years old in January. Regardless, the breakout performance is only good news for the Islanders.
Dufour and Saint Johns are now set to host the 2022 Memorial Cup that will feature the Sea Dogs, Edmonton Oil Kings, Hamilton Bulldogs, and Shawinigan Cataractes. Following the tournament, Dufour will prepare for the Islanders training camp in September after he signed his three-year, entry-level contract on April 21st. He'll get his first taste of the NHL at training camp, but Dufour is likely to dress in the AHL for the Bridgeport Islanders next season that should feature an exciting lineup including Aatu Räty, Simon Holmstrom, and Ruslan Iskhakov barring any one of the previously mentioned really wow Islanders head coach Lane Lambert at training camp and crack the NHL roster.
It was a special year for Dufour and we'll see how that translates to the pro-level soon enough, but for now, it's a glimmer of hope that the Quebec native is a diamond in the rough as a prospect that can boost what's considered a thin Islanders prospect pool.