Tristan Luneau – 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Tristan Luneau

2021-22 Team: Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: January 12, 2004
Place of Birth: Trois-Rivières, QC, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 174 pounds
Shoots: R
Position: D
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible

Rankings

When Tristan Luneau was selected 1st overall in the 2020 QMJHL Entry Draft, he was expected to be one of their top defensemen. They got that and more, as the 6-foot-2 blueliner led all defensemen on the team in goals with ten and tied for sixth in points with 25. His production paired with a solid defensive season earned him the QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year and a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie Team. If it weren’t for a lingering injury that required surgery last summer, his stock would be up there along with the best defensemen of his draft class.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Luneau has quite a few things going for him. He has a solid 6-foot-2 frame that could use more muscle, but he hasn’t let that hinder his physical play. He’s not shy to throw a hit in corners and uses his body well to separate the opposition from pucks during battles. He possesses a very high hockey IQ defensively, as both his gap control and stick work are two strong points to his game. He’s shown great strides in two years regarding his ability to take away passing lanes and force turnovers, and he’s a good enough skater to take advantage of loose pucks and drive the play forward.

Offensively, he can quarterback a power play with relative ease. He isn’t much of a shooter, preferring to wait out the opposition and find open lanes to set up plays. He’s shown great precision when it comes to picking players in the high slot, and he has a strong tendency to overcome pressure when handling the puck at the top of the blue line. He continues to work on his shot, both in practice and during the summer, to improve on the strength behind his slap shot while making adjustments to his accuracy with his wrist shot. He’s still a pass-first type of player but adding that extra element will give him an edge of unpredictability that will keep opposing players on their heels.

Tristan Luneau Gatineau Olympiques
Tristan Luneau, Gatineau Olympiques (Dominic Charette/Gatineau Olympiques)

While his skating isn’t particularly a weakness, there are aspects of it that can be improved upon. His first step is good, but adding more speed and explosiveness between the second and fourth steps are areas he can work on. His edgework and pivot would benefit from this change, as he has been caught off guard several times this season when the puck is turned over. He’s still an exceptional skater, and he’ll be highly touted before the draft, but these minor tweaks could be what separates him from being good and great.

He’s looked good this season, which bodes well for those thinking his offseason surgery would hinder his performance. After a second strong campaign with the Olympiques, he’s now in a prime position to be one of the first Canadians called in the draft. He has all the tools to become a top-four defenseman at the NHL level, but his development within the organization that selects him will be key. If he can enhance areas of his skating and be more of an imposing player offensively, he’ll no doubt have what it takes to be an NHL regular in due time.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Tristan Luneau – NHL Draft Projection

Luneau should hear his name in the first round. However, his projection is all over the map as to whether it will be in the middle or near the end of the round. Some projections show him slipping into the second round, which would be an enormous steal for any team that lands him then. Expect him to go somewhere between the mid-to-late 20s of the first round.

Quotables

“There’s massive upside in the potential of this player based on puck handling skills and the ability to make a good first pass. Getting completely back to game shape following a lower-body injury will be key in realizing this potential.”- Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet

“Luneau is a reliable two-way defenseman who showed poise, decision-making, and instincts well beyond his years. His remarkable composure could be seen as he took control of breakouts, adapting and evading forecheckers on the fly with great fakes and smooth turns, as well as finding outlets assertively. Luneau activated himself fluidly in transition, showing his high-end awareness.”- Andy Lehoux, FC Hockey

“Luneau is a skilled, young defender whose life has revolved around hockey. His father Dominic is a former draft pick of the Laval Titan in the 1993 QMJHL Entry Draft, and his brother Tommy was selected by the Victoriaville Tigres in the 2018 draft. Tristan, on the other hand, holds the bragging rights. The Olympiques selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 Draft, and he immediately stepped into a defensive role.”- Colton Davies, FC Hockey

Strengths

  • Works well under pressure
  • Physically engaging
  • Puck-handling
  • Precise passing

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

  • Getting back into shape following an injury
  • Lacks explosiveness in skating

NHL Potential

Luneau could become a dependable second-pairing defenseman at the NHL level, capable of quarterbacking a power play with excellent footwork and good vision. The mix of size and two-way play make him a highly-attractive prospect, one that can develop into a regular NHL player in a few years.

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk- 3/5, Reward 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense- 6/10, Defense 8/10

Awards/ Achievements

Drafted 1st overall in the 2020 QMJHL Entry Draft, Luneau’s resume includes a 2019 CWG Championship with Team Québec, a 2020 Youth Olympic Games bronze medal, and Top Prospect and Top Defenseman honors in the Quebec Midget AAA league. In his first year in the QMJHL, he was named to the All-Rookie Team and earned the Raymond Lagacé Trophy for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Tristan Luneau Statistics

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