The Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect pool is quite possibly the deepest that it’s ever been. Based on their current position in the standings, it’s likely that it will get a bit deeper after this season. While the Jackets have been getting some A-List prospects through their high draft picks in players like Kent Johnson and David Jiricek, they have also seen some pretty promising things from later-round picks lately as well.
One of those picks is their third-rounder from the 2022 NHL Draft class, Jordan Dumais. He was a pick from the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He’s been tearing up the QMJHL this season and is worth highlighting as a potential sleeper pick for the Jackets.
How Did Dumais Become a Blue Jacket?
For the average NHL fan, the first thing they do after the draft is over is have a look at each player their team selected and how well they performed in the last season. Dumais was one that jumped off of the page when the Blue Jackets picked him 96th overall.
One of the biggest perplexities in his journey to the Blue Jackets was: How did he slip to the third round? Statistically, he looked like a slam dunk.
Last season, he led all QMJHL draft-eligible players in scoring with 39 goals, 70 assists, and 109 points. Let’s emphasize that: 109 points in only 68 games as a 17-year-old. That’s the most in the QMJHL for a first-year draft-eligible player in the last ten years aside from Alexis Lafreniere in 2019-20.
The knocks on Dumais are all the classic excuses that tend to keep a high scorer in junior hockey from being drafted in the first round. He’s got a small frame at 5-foot-9, not a lot of meat on that frame at 174 pounds, and there are some questions about his skating ability. Three strikes and you’re out of the first round.
Despite that, there is a well-rounded and high-IQ side to his game that drew the attention of the Blue Jackets. At the end of the day, if he’s putting up triple digits as a 17-year-old, he’s got to be doing something right.
He’s a goal scorer. He’s a pass-first kind of guy as well where he can make plays. He’s the guy that leads his line.Halifax Mooseheads head coach Sylvain Favereau on Dumais before he was drafted.
The Hockey Writers‘ own draft profile of him mentioned that skating deficiency along with strength as areas “under construction” but they also projected him to score 69 to 85 points at the NHL level. He’s a hard worker who thinks the game well. Those are both qualities that have translated well in another undersized Blue Jacket, Nick Blankenburg. There are a lot of reasons why he will be a good fit for Columbus.
How is Dumais Doing This Season?
Before we get into this season, let’s not forget the offseason that Dumais had and how good of a run he had in the Jackets’ various summer camps. He showed up ready to make an impression. Aside from making waves with his choice of jersey number, he was a frequent flier on the scoresheet throughout the summer scrimmages.
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THW’s own Mark Scheig says his confidence was particularly on display at the Traverse City Rookie Tournament. He was a multi-goal scorer and showed that he deserves to be mentioned in the list of the Blue Jackets’ top prospects. He then made his way through training camp, a trip that included dressing for his first NHL preseason game. It was a summer of development for the youngster, who says his main focus was his skating.
Just working on my stride. I definitely feel better and faster, but it’s also from getting bigger in the gym and maturing too.Dumais told NHL.com
Now to the 2022-23 season itself. As of the writing of this piece, Dumais has 12 goals and 17 assists through 14 games of play. Over a full 68-game season he’s on pace for 58 goals, 83 assists, and 141 points. While that number is a little inflated, the sample size is growing to a number of games that suggests his early offensive onslaught is more than just a fluke. That pace gives him point totals that would be the best that the QMJHL has seen since Sidney Crosby.
Out of those 14 games, he’s had nine multi-point efforts, including four with more than three points and one five-point effort. He’s been a shooting machine, averaging 3.64 shots per game, and has scored the game-winning goal in four of his team’s first nine wins.
He’s not just scoring greasy goals around the net or easy powerplay tap-ins either. Most of his goals have come at even strength and a lot of them are worthy of the highlight reel.
Let’s be clear, I don’t expect Dumais to hit 140 points this season, but is 120 attainable? It very well could be.
Some Best Case Scenarios for Dumais
Just for fun, let’s look at some best-case scenarios of players who dominated in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) during their draft year, but weren’t picked in the first round mainly due to their size.
The number one example of a player slipping out of the first round due to size concerns is Alex DeBrincat. He’s the guy that everyone points to in a debate about prospects when size is brought up as a factor as ‘the guy who proved everyone wrong.’
The difference with Debrincat is that skating was always one of his biggest assets. He was also a little more prolific on the scoresheet, scoring over 100 points in each of his age 16 and age 17 seasons. That’s a feat that is practically unheard of.
The similarity with DeBrincat is the ‘size factor’ and the age-17 season offensive output at the major junior level. However, for me, Dumais’ production actually gets a bit of an edge because he wasn’t playing with the likes of Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome like DeBrincat was.
Outside of the CHL, you don’t even need to leave Columbus to see another undersized forward that was undervalued and drafted late because of it. Despite putting up elite numbers with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League (USHL), Johnny Gaudreau was drafted in the fourth round and has gone on to be a pretty decent NHL player. Other undersized late-round or undrafted forwards who’ve also gone on to bright things include Brayden Point, Brad Marchand, and Jonathan Marchessault among others.
All of these players are possible outcomes. However, only time will tell if Dumais has a meteoric rise like one of them or flames out when he tries to break into the pro ranks. We could look at some worst-case scenarios – there are a few – but with how things are going for the Blue Jackets lately, I just think a little optimism is needed when looking toward the future. Dumais could be a big part of that.
What’s Next for Dumais?
While I can’t imagine we see Dumais at the NHL level next season, bigger surprises have happened. He won’t be eligible to play in American Hockey League (AHL) with Cleveland either, so barring any surprises he’s bound to be lighting up the QMJHL a little longer. One would hope that playing in junior hockey for an extra year or two won’t hurt his development, but players like Point have shown a few extra years in the CHL can be beneficial. The Blue Jackets have to be thrilled with the early returns on Dumais. As they look to the future, they’re hoping that they’ve pulled one over on the rest of the NHL by cashing in on a third-round selection and getting the next Alex DeBrincat.
Writer covering the Columbus Blue Jackets for THW since August 2021.
Co-host of the Blue Jackets’ focused “Union Junction Podcast” on The Hockey Writers’ podcast network.
Also, a radio personality and reporter currently based on Vancouver Island.