The New York Islanders have had a disappointing start to the 2021 NHL season, and are quickly running out of time to figure things out. The team currently sits in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division with 12 points in 15 games played. They are six points back from the seventh place Columbus Blue Jackets, and that gap continues to grow as the Islanders continue to struggle. They just had their opening weekend for their brand new, state-of-the-art UBS arena where they lost both games and extend their current losing streak to six games. Things are looking bleak within the current state of the Islanders, so that means it is time to look towards the future.
The Islanders’ Prospect
The Islanders drafted a kid named William Dufour with the 152nd overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft. Since then his stock has sky-rocketed within the Islanders’ system. This season, Dufour has accumulated 31 points over the course of 20 games from the right wing position. That puts him above a point and a half per game this season, and he has been at well over a point-per-game pace since being drafted at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) level.
Dufour’s Skill Set
William Dufour’s speed does not blow anybody away, and he doesn’t dangle his way through a defense until he’s one-on-one with a goalie, but he’s incredibly smart. He is patient and cerebral with the puck and moves very well without the puck. He is very good at drawing in defenders and creating space in the passing lanes to set up his teammates. He also plays with a very high motor. He is always involved in odd-man-rush opportunities, which usually end in points.
Point production has been a huge issue for the Islanders this season, so hearing that there is a player in the prospect pool who has been on an absolute tear since being drafted is music to Isles fans’ ears. The departure of Jordan Eberle mixed with the slow start of Kyle Palmeri, Zach Parise, and J.G. Pageau has been an issue that has yet to be answered for the Islanders.
With these holes, there is definitely room for Dufour to carve out a role for himself within the offense. He is still only 19 years old, so in all likelihood, he still has a while until he is called up. However, fans should keep the name ‘William Dufour’ in mind.
Dufour was not always the high-production, difference maker he has become in the QMJHL. He was drafted sixth overall in the league’s entry draft back in 2018 to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies where he really struggled to make any sort of impact. After having a few years to become acclimated to the league, he is now one of the premier players of the QMJHL which has led to him being drafted by the Islanders in 2020. His slow start is ultimately what led to him falling all the way to the fifth round of the 2020 NHL draft and right into the hands of the Islanders, and now he is looking like the best value pick of that draft. Not saying he is the best player of that draft, but in terms of what you are getting compared to where a player was drafted, his name must be mentioned.
According to Dobber Prospects, he draws comparisons to Islanders’ own Cal Clutterbuck and has the potential to break into the Islanders’ top six. According to Dufour, the Islanders must have also seen the potential because they were very involved with him leading up to the draft in 2020.
“I had a couple of interviews with them. Closer to the draft I got two calls from them (one over the phone and one Zooom call). They were one of the teams that I spoke to with the most, so it’s not that had I no doubt they’d take me but i had a feeling.”Michael Anderson, Eyes on the Isles
The Islanders have not shown a whole lot to be excited about this season. So if you find yourself looking for positives about the Islanders, look no further. Dufour has a massive ceiling and could be a big part of the future in New York. If he stays on the trajectory he is currently on, Dufour is a name you are going to hear more and more in the coming years.
I am 24 years old, born and raised in South Florida. I cover the New York Islanders for THW but I also follow football, basketball, baseball, and golf. I have been around sports my entire life, whether it be playing or watching. When I am not watching sports, I like to spend my free time playing golf and fishing. I am a very passionate sports fan and I discovered that writing gives me an outlet to voice my thoughts and opinions on the things I am most passionate about. About five years ago, I started to follow the NHL during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and ever since then, I have been hooked.