William Dufour finished his junior career on a great note and he’s hoping to use that momentum to start his pro career on a good note.
A modest pick for the New York Islanders fifth round in 2020, the Quebecer had a veritable boom in 2021-2022 with 56 total goals – a high in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (LHJMQ) – and 116 points in 66 games with the Saint John seals. He was also named Tour MVP.
Dufour came back from a three-goal deficit against the Shawinigan Cataractes with a four-goal performance at the end of the Memorial Cup preliminary tournament to propel his team into the finals. He added two points (one goal, one assist) in a stunning final win over the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Then, that summer, he was one of the architects of Canada’s World Juniors gold medal, totaling three goals and seven points in seven games. Especially in the final against Finland he hit the mark.
Therefore, with Dufour present at the Islanders’ rookie camp, it’s only natural that he should be confident in his means, having initialed his three-year entry-level contract this year.
“Coming back here, I’m really confident,” Dufour said, according to the islanders’ official website. I’ve had a pretty good season [en 2021-2022] and I’m going to try and bring that to camp and see where it takes us.”
French certainly has a place of choice among islanders. Arnaud Durandeau, Samuel Bolduc and Vincent Sevigny are also present at camp, while Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anthony Beauvillier are key members of the Islanders roster.
Dufour also had good words for the two Belle Province veterans, but also for Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, who recently invited some hopefuls to a round of golf.
“Even now they still talk to us a lot,” said Dufour. It’s good that they show us what to do and everything and it’s good to have the opportunity to speak French.
But beyond integrating and adapting to the game, which is becoming faster and more robust among the pros, Dufour has a very specific goal: to remain himself.
“I just want to be myself, not feel pressured, just continue what I did last year,” he explained. I did that at the World Juniors. I tried to play a reciprocal game and create offense. It’s more my kind of game. If I just play my game I think I’ll be fine.
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