Nation Network Prospect Profile: #4 Pierre-Luc Dubois

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.

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  • 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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From Aynsley Scott, Dobber Prospects: 

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.

From Corey Pronman, ESPN:

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.

Our Take:

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%.

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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.  

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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. 

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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:

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.

Nation Network Draft Prospect Profiles

Prospect Profile #5: Matthew Tkachuk (LW)
Prospect Profile #6: Clayton Keller (C) Prospect Profile #7: Mikhail Sergachev (D)
Prospect Profile #8: Jakob Chychrun (D) Prospect Profile #9: Olli Juolevi (D)
Prospect Profile #10: Tyson Jost (C) Prospect Profile #11: Alexander Nylander (RW/LW)
Prospect Profile #12: Jake Bean (D) Prospect Profile #13: Kieffer Bellows (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #14: Michael McLeod (C) Prospect Profile #15: Logan Brown (C)
Prospect Profile #16: Julien Gauthier (RW) Prospect Profile #17: Dante Fabbro (D)
Prospect Profile #18: Charlie McAvoy (D) Prospect Profiles #19: Luke Kunin (C)
Prospect Profile #20: Alex Debrincat (C/LW) Prospect Profiles #21: Vitali Abramov (RW)
Prospect Profile #22: Max Jones (W/C) Prospect Profiles #23: Pascal Laberge (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #24: Tage Thompson (C/RW) Prospect Profile #25: German Rubtsov (C)
Prospect Profile #26: Samuel Girard (D) Prospect Profile #27: Rasmus Asplund (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #28: Will Bitten (C) Prospect Profile #29: Tyler Benson (LW)
Prospect Profile #30: Carl Grundstrom (LW) Prospect Profiles #60 – #31 (2nd Round)

  • Dirty30

    The one molecule of concern about Dubois is simply at age 17 years old he is already 205 on a six-foot-two frame.

    It raises that simple question about whether his success is due to skill or simple size?

    Is there a stat on comparable size of other players in his cohort? Is it possible to find a number that says “compared to other LW’s in his cohort, X% are bigger?

    Otherwise, if he’s there at five, he should be the obvious pick for Vancouver.

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      Absolutely there’s a way to find that stat. It’s called “going through the rosters of every team in the league, counting by hand the number of LW’s with a height >6’2.25″ and dividing that number by the total number of LW’s in his league.” I’d do it myself, but I have coffee to drink and a day off to enjoy.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    He is our guy hopefully. Tkachuk is a good consolation prize as is Jost, Brown or Sergachev. The last 3 not at #5 though.

    I will be disappointed if we don’t get Dubois at #5 as I have been calling for him when he was ranked in the teens and was thoroughly trashed on this site. Funny how a few months change people’s opinions.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Picking DuBois seems like a no brainer if he’s still available. He looks like a good bet to play center one day, and at the VERY least, figures to be second line left winger. I would be more inclined to trade down if the Oilers or Blue Jackets take Du Bois. Tkatchuk looks good, but less versatile than Du Bois.

    • Dirty30

      I wouldn’t mind either PLD or Tkachuk. I just don’t want either on the team next season if they aren’t ready. no need to rush kids into the lineup, another year of jr is fine if they aren’t ready for the NHL.

      • Dirty30

        I like Tkachuk. I just think center and defense are clearly more pressing concerns for the Canucks than left wing. If I were Benning and BuBois was gone, I would be more open to trading down and taking someone like Logan Brown of Jake Bean, plus another solid prospect. If DuBois was available, I would be more inclined to just take him.

        • Dirty30

          Whoever JB selects should help the club in the long run. In previous interviews JB has mentioned he has 6 players he has interest in, one being a dman…

          If he doesn’t select Tkachuk or PLD, I’m expecting the trolls to come out in force and the sky is falling crowd to totally lose it. When in reality, we won’t know what the player selected will mean to the club for a few more seasons.

          If a player like Erik Karlsson can be selected at #15, I don’t mind if JB selects a player a few spots ahead of where the media has the guy.

  • krutov

    there are some skills there and he sure looks like a centre. way more dynamic footage than tkachuk and obviously a much better skater. in fact he looks like a bit like toews with a great one timer.

    but it sure is hard to figure out how to adjust for the fact he was in the q. you can see he is absolutely fearless going into the slot or crease but that’s understandable when you look at the size of the guy trying to check dubois in the photo accompanying this article.

  • krutov

    If one compared Youtube highlights, you’ll find Dubois’s highlights as more impressive compared to Tkachuk. Dubois creates opportunities through solid two way play (e.g. stripping players of pucks on the backcheck) and is an excellent finisher (e.g. one-timer slapshot goals). As advertised, a guy you would play in any situation.

  • krutov

    The age factor has to come into play – Dubois is not even 18 yet, and is seven months younger than Tkachuk; 9 months younger than Matthews. All at an age when players are developing very quickly. Where would Tkachuk be drafted if we were only able to look at his body of work that ended 7 months ago?

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    I’m really hoping to land Dubois. I agree with the earlier post that references the fact he’s 17 (18 on draft day). Dubois could be a draft day steal at 5. Now as long as the Oilers and Habs don’t swing a deal involving 4 he’s all ours…

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    While the Canucks were unlucky to drop to 5, they are very fortunate in that the top 5 of the draft is flush with difference makers….

    The first three will play in the NHL next year, but Tkachuk and DuBois could be overall number 1s in other years. Canucks have enough centers, so DuBois would go back to Junior.

    Future 1-2 center tandem of DuBois and Horvat, then add in Jake V and Boeser to each wing and the Canucks have some big fast guys coming at you.

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    Outside of the top three (Curse you lottery!!), Dubois and Brown are the two players I’d be most supportive of the Canucks drafting.

    Yeah, Dubois plays in the Q, so his numbers are a tad inflated. But, after watching him play a few games you realize that he’s just about as solid and well rounded as a junior forward can be. This kid simply has all the tools. And, frankly, I like that he takes a few penalties. With the sad decline of the most noble players in the game – the Enforcers – first line players will need to be able to defend themselves.