When you get into the third round and beyond in the NHL Entry Draft, teams are often looking for home runs. The likelihood of getting an NHL player at all drops significantly once outside of the first round, so there are no certainties. You’re either looking for a player with a higher floor, or you’re trying to hit a home run by stealing a player that never should have been there in the first place.
As for the latter, there may be such an opportunity for a team willing to call the name of Jordan Dumais this year.
Birthplace: L’île Bizard, Québec
Date of birth: April 15, 2004
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 165 lbs.
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Hailing from just off the island of Montreal in Île Bizard, Dumais stood out playing his minor hockey for Lac St-Louis. He then headed south of the border to Connecticut, where he was the second-leading scorer for the South Kent School, behind only David Goyette, another draft hopeful that we have profiled here.
This put him on QMJHL draft radars, and the Halifax Mooseheads ultimately took him at 18th overall in 2020. He had a decent rookie season with 29 points in 2020-21, but exploded for 109 points this season, a team record for a 17-year-old player.
Despite his eye-opening sophomore campaign, he didn’t get an invite to the 2022 CHL Top Prospects Game, or even the NHL Draft Combine. Speaking to the Jounal de Québec, Dumais was asked about his omission from the prospects game, saying, “I’ve always been underestimated as a player. It’s been that way all my life. I knew I was better than some of the players who were at the top prospects game. Every time, it gives me extra motivation.”
He may be better than quite a few names that will be called ahead of his in July, so let’s take a look at why I think he’ll end up as the steal of this year’s draft.
Dumais is an elite playmaker, finishing tied for first in the entire QMJHL for assists with Josh Lawrence, an over-ager, and Montreal Canadiens second-round prospect Riley Kidney. His vision, passing, and hockey IQ are off the charts, and he can easily find teammates through traffic to create scoring chances.
You have to cover his linemates at all times, or he will find them and make you pay. To complicate matters, he also has some of the better hands in this draft, so you can cover him to the best of your ability only for him to use misdirection and gain the space he needs to make something happen.
His shot, while not elite in terms of velocity, is very accurate with a quick and deceptive release. That being said, he does a lot of his scoring by driving the net, and draws comparisons to Brendan Gallagher for how he is willing to go there despite his stature. Like Gallagher, Dumais isn’t afraid to play a bigger man’s game.
He’s also a solid skater with excellent edge-work and lateral movement, which paired with his hands give him escapability that is hard to teach. He may not have the physicality of other players, but he uses the tools he has intelligently, and shows little regard for his size in how he plays the game.
Time to address the elephant in the room. The main reason — ostensibly the only one — that Dumais is ranked as low as he is, would be his size. He’s listed at 5’9” — which I suspect to be generous — under 170 pounds, and we have no confirmation of these figures due to the aforementioned combine snub. The primary concern for scouts is whether he has the physicality to compete in the NHL.
Skating is a strength overall, but there is also some valid concern in that he has a short stride that can hold him back at times. If he can work on that, it could push him toward elite skating, which would definitely help quell some of the worry over his size.
He also has relatively low shot volume, and his 39 goals came on 21.4% shooting this year. That will be a tough number to sustain, and while he does a lot of that shooting in high-percentage areas around the net, putting more pucks on net will be important for him in getting to that next level.
Elite Prospects: #71
NHL Central Scouting: #73 (North-American skaters)
Corey Pronman (The Athletic) #90
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): #38
Some have him falling as far as the early fourth round, but the general consensus seems to be that he’ll go somewhere in the third. If my position in the title and body of this article isn’t clear enough, I think he is criminally underrated, and he wouldn’t be anywhere near the third round if his height started with a six.
I’m reminded of a certain Johnny Gaudreau, whose small stature pushed him into the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft. Gaudreau is of course an elite NHL player with multiple point-per-game or better NHL seasons, so it would be quite ambitious to say that Dumais will be that type of steal. I will say, however, that with proper development, there is star potential with Dumais that you just don’t see every year in third-rounders. His ceiling is that of a superstar, playmaking winger.
Of concern would be his floor, which could be that he doesn’t make the NHL. Since you run that risk with almost every selection in the third round anyway, why not take a chance and find out if some Gaudreau-esque ceiling can be reached? The Montreal Canadiens hold three picks in the range that Dumais is expected to go, so the fact he is so underestimated could give them that chance to find out.
The Habs can potentially hit a home run, and with a homegrown player no less. If his fall to the third round happens as predicted, they have to make this pick.