NY Islanders William Dufour bringing Championship mentality to training camp

Canada v Finland: Gold Medal Game - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship
Canada v Finland: Gold Medal Game - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship / Andy Devlin/GettyImages

All William Dufour does is win, win, win, no matter what. Honestly, we couldn't publish enough content about him winning accolade after accolade. The reigning Memorial Cup Champion and 2022 World Juniors gold medalist was one of the most successful prospects of any up-and-comer across the NHL. Finally, after a few weeks of rest, Dufour is now on Long Island attending the Islanders rookie camp and he's brought his championship pedigree and mentality with him.

*Quotes modified for clarity

I couldn’t ask for more. I’m a champion in the Q, I’m a champion in the world. I mean, coming here I’m very confident. I had a pretty good season this year, I’m going to try and bring (all of) this into camp.
William Dufour

"A pretty good season" is obviously an understatement. Dufour notched 116 points for the Saint John Sea Dogs, good for second most in the QMJHL. His 56 goals led the league and helped him surpass Jonathan Huberdeau's Sea Dogs record (105 points) for most points in a single season in Saint John's history. The Sea Dogs were bounced from the 2022 QMJHL playoffs earlier than anticipated. Still, they won the Memorial Cup as the tournament hosts on the back of Dufour who scored seven goals and eight points, leading the tournament in the former category and tying the lead in the latter. At the World Junior Championships and en route to a gold medal, Dufour scored three goals and seven points in seven games and even played his way to Canada's top line next to fellow top prospects Mason McTavish and Joshua Roy.

Now, Dufour is attending his first real NHL rookie/training camp and is excited about the raised level of competition he'll be facing.

There’s a lot of excitement. I was drafted in 2020 and it’s the first time here in a real camp. To see the boys here, it’s nice. You’re practicing with some pros so it’s nice that the compete level is high and I can’t wait to see further what the rest of this week is going to be.
William Dufour

One of the narratives around Dufour's incredible success in the 2021-22 QMJHL season was that he was an "over-ager," playing in a man's sized body among smaller, less skilled competition. Dufour has since silenced that narrative, proving he could perform in best-on-best competition after the QMJHL season concluded during a few different postseason tournaments. Dufour's success has even catapulted him up the Islanders prospect pool where some rank him as Long Islands No.1 prospect ahead of Aatu Räty.

When asked about what went into his success all last year, Dufour explained how he simplified things for himself.

I think I just (wanted) to be myself. (Not putting) pressure on (myself). Just continue what I did last year and what I did at the World Juniors. Try to play that two-way game I played at the World Juniors, I think that’s going to be more my type of game and just bring some offense. No pressure, just play my game and everything will go well if I play my game.
William Dufour

With his confidence at an all-time high, Dufour is looking to ride the wave of momentum to hockey's top level, looking to make a lasting impression on some of the Islanders' decision makers. He's likely to start the season at the AHL level with the Bridgeport Islanders in his first professional season, but at rookie and training camp, he's looking show the organization that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft that he's a legitimate candidate to play NHL games. It could be sooner rather than later that we see Dufour in a varsity Islanders uniform, and his historic season of championship success played a huge role in Dufour's monumental upward trend, and he's now brought that mentality to the Islanders at their rookie training camp.

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