The diminutive Owen Sound Attack forward, Aidan Dudas, checks in as the 48th ranked prospect in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
With any forward of his size, there will be concern that he won’t be able to make it at the next level but Dudas oozes with skill and work ethic that allows him overcomes that size.
Aside from a midseason lull, Dudas played well throughout the entire season and is a player that is worth the flyer in this draft class.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.25/ June 15, 2000
- Birthplace: Parry Sound, ON, CAN
- Frame:5-foot-7/ 165 lbs
- Position: Centre
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Owen Sound Attack(OHL)
- OMHA ETA Player of the Year
- YOG Silver Medal
- U17 WHC Silver Medal
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
Dudas was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection and headed straight to the OHL the following fall. He posted a respectable 21 points in 56 games in a depth role and then exploded offensively this season with 31 goals and 34 assists in 68 games.
He represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka and U18 World Junior Championships. Dudas had three goals and four assists in 11 playoff games before heading to the aforementioned U18 WJHC.
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There was a downturn in offence in that middle part of the year but otherwise some consistent production with an outburst to close the season. Owen Sound and Dudas made quick work of London in the first round of the OHL playoffs before pushing Sault St Marie to seven games. Dudas did struggle in the defensive zone in a couple of those games as evidenced by the red in the event tracker.
SEAL, SH/GP, XLS% and XVal all standout for Dudas in terms of percentiles.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
For the most part, Dudas made his teammates better in terms of GF% WOWY and rated among the better players in terms of 5v5 eP60
Dudas saw a success rate of 18.5% among his comparables and an expected points per 60 of 39.9 per 82 games player among that same group.
Dudas is a quick, crafty and mobile player who can create offence in all sorts of ways. He is very skilled with the puck, able to control the puck with ease and at full speed.
He loves to shoot the puck but is also a skilled playmaker who can dangle a defender, get them all crossed up, and then send it to a wide-open teammate for a tap-in. The Owen Sound centre is agile on his edges, able to adjust and pivot his lanes quickly and then regain any lost speed. He has impressive two-step quickness that allows separation from a stop.
His puckhandling skills are extremely impressive as he uses his small frame and low centre of gravity to move the puck around quickly. He has a quick shot that he likes to use when he gets closer to the net.
Dudas isn’t generally worried about the dirty areas of the ice, using those positive skills mentioned above to get himself into the home-plate area without too much issue. With that in mind, because of his size, if he is engaged physically, he can have trouble holding onto his space and then is pushed out of the way. That is always the concern with a player of his size and something that he will need to overcome through his tenacious and smart play.
Dudas had a standout performance at the Sherwin-Williams CHL Top Prospects Game that saw him score two goals on four shots including that beauty above. He also had one goal in three games at the U18 World Juniors and one goal at the five games at Ivan Hlinka.
He ranked 4th among first-time draft eligible forwards from the OHL in primary points, trailing only Andrei Svechnikov, Akil Thomas, and Allan McShane. He was a generator of his own offence and it’s clear when you watch him play. He is tenacious on the puck and wants it on his stick. If he isn’t going to score the goal, he is going to be the one who makes the play before dishing it to a teammate.
The Parry Sound native is good in his own zone as he uses his quick feet and smarts to cut off lanes and pressure without having his lack of size be an issue.
The NHL has seen a trend of smaller players excelling simply because they are willing to do whatever it takes to not be stopped and are gifted offensively. Dudas has shown all those same signs in the OHL and could very well be another player that we add to the list of players who made it despite his smaller stature.
Although he played centre at the OHL level this season and did so fairly well there, he may end up being a winger at the professional levels as it will allow him to attack from the sides out. He’ll be able to use his skating and creativity to adjust his attack and not let the size issue be a thing.
Dudas may be a swing for the fences type of pick and could very well be worth it.
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Energy player who always is competing and battling on the play – heads up game with the puck, capable to make plays while being checked & willing to take the hit to make the play – plays bigger than his size and has a knack for drawing penalties – fluid skater with good speed & quickness to gain advantage on plays – good offensive hockey sense, makes the give & go plays to generate chances -great instincts to makes the most his chances & has a good finishing touch- small but very effective.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings