2017-18 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (#19)
Date of Birth: Feb. 6, 2000
Place of Birth: Rouen, France
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 190 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 20th (among NA Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 24th
- ISS Hockey: 20th
Benoit-Olivier Groulx is a potentially risky prospect with high-reward capability coming out of the QMJHL. While he was taken with the first-overall selection in the QMJHL Entry Draft in 2016, he still has a long way to go to prove that he has value as a first-round selection at the NHL level, but the upside is certainly there.
In his rookie season in the QMJHL, Groulx scored 17 goals and 31 points in 62 games. In his second season in 2017-18, Groulx turned up the heat a bit and scored a respectable 28 goals and 55 points in 68 games and showed that he could finish goals when called upon.
RELATED: THW’s 2018 Draft Guide
First and foremost, Groulx is a sniper who has soft hands and an excellent shot both on the forehand and the backhand. He has a rocket of a slap shot that isn’t used as often as it could, or at the very least, should be, and he has a quick release that has drawn the attention of scouts. His elite-level shot, specifically his wrist-shot, makes him a standout amongst his peers. On top of this, he has a tendency to create his own space with excellent puck-handling skills as well.
While his ability to snipe pucks past opposing netminders stands out as his most notable trait, his ability as a playmaker and a two-way center shouldn’t be ignored either. Because he has such a lethal shot, opposing players often find themselves drawn towards Groulx. in turn, leaving another player open for a prime scoring opportunity. Groulx’s ability to find the open man is an underrated part of his game.
On top of his offensive ability, Groulx has also shown a certain defensive prowess at the center position that makes him an intriguing prospect, even if he fails to become a top-six player at the NHL level. His positioning is key in his gameplan and it’s part of what makes him so successful and what has him ranked as a first-round talent. Still, while his positioning is good, it only masks the major deficiency in Groulx’s game.
Groulx’s skating is his one major downside. His lateral movements are fine but his speed and strides are of concern. He’s improved each season since entering the QMJHL but his ability to take the next step in terms of acceleration and top speed will be something he needs to work on at the next level. Groulx is very strong on his skates but in a game that’s constantly advancing and getting faster, he’ll need to improve in this area if he ever wants to become a top-six player.
While the skating is a concern, the other factors of Groulx’s game make him an almost guaranteed first-round talent as they are simply too good to ignore.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
- Mattias Samuelsson
- Nathan Dunkley
- Billy Moskal
- Ty Dellandrea
- Filip Zadina
- Joseph Veleno
- Rasmus Dahlin
- Ryan McLeod
Benoit-Olivier Groulx – NHL Draft Projection
Based on Groulx’s strengths and weighing them against his deficiencies, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go at any time between picks 19 and 25 in the first round. If teams are afraid of his skating, it could hurt him even more. With that said, his shot and defensive ability are both remarkable and give him NHL potential.
While teams would ideally target top-six talent in the first-round, a player who looks like he can almost certainly play in a bottom-six role one day as his floor could entice them to draft him and work on the problem areas later.
“Strong two-way player who can chip in on the scoresheet and play all-situations. Likely destined for a bottom six role.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects
“Being reunited with Max Fortier has allowed Groulx to speed up development in his offensive game. He has enough sneaky skill that when you consider his bite, it lets you project him in a variety of roles at the next level.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
- Play-making ability
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Groulx is an interesting prospect to try and project at the NHL level. While he has high upside and could find himself centering an NHL team’s second-line one day, he looks best suited for a third-line role right now if his skating doesn’t improve significantly. His development in the QMJHL next season and potentially in the AHL one day will be instrumental in determining his NHL upside.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8.5/10 Defence – 7.5/10
2015-16 YOG Silver Medal, 2017-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal.