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Canadiens 2014 Top 25 Under 25: #22 Gabriel Dumont

One of very few players to have found themselves on this list since the initial rankings in 2010, Gabriel Dumont places 22nd in the 2014 edition, courtesy of his two-way abilities exhibited at the professional level.

Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club

Gabriel Dumont already has some NHL experience on his resume.  After three uneventful games with the Montreal Canadiens in 2011-’12,  he followed up with a very good ten-game stint in 2012-’13 that saw him put up a goal and two assists in a fourth-line role, earning him a start in three playoff games that season.

The majority of Dumont’s playing time over the entirety of the T25U25 project has been spent in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he has led a production-challenged team in goal-scoring for the past two campaigns, albeit with the tied-for-second-lowest total of any team-leader in that category this past season.

Team

Player

Goals

Rank

Charlotte Checkers

Zach Boychuk

36

1

Texas Stars

Travis Morin / Colton Sceviour

32

2





Hershey Bears

Jeff Taffe

21

26

Hamilton Bulldogs

Gabriel Dumont

19

T-27

Iowa Wild

Brad Winchester

19

T-27

Springfield Falcons

Michael Chaput

19

T-27

Lake Erie Monsters

Andrew Agozzino

17

30

His 19-goal effort is less promising from an offensive perspective than the 51-goal season he was able to achieve with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL in 2009-’10.  That season he was also awarded the Guy Carbonneau Trophy as the best defensive forward in the league, which is more indicative of his true professional abilities.

Gabriel_dumont_medium

Votes

Twelve of sixteen panelists placed Dumont within their top 25, while three of the four who didn’t had him only a spot or two outside of this esteemed group.

Dumont_votes

Strengths

Photo credit: Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club

Dumont plays a two-way, all-situations game.  This year he centred the top line of the Bulldogs that often matched up against the best players of the opposition.  He is a very effective penalty killer, applying puck-pressure in the defensive zone and putting his skills in the faceoff circle to good use. In the games he spent with the big club in the 2012-’13 regular season, he had a chance to showcase that faceoff prowess, recording a winning percentage of 63%.

He has a high-energy, hounding style that results in plenty of hits and takeaways.  He commands the attention of opposing players, and that helps to open up opportunities for his linemates.

As noted above, he has shown some offensive ability in his junior and professional careers.  His most effective method of contributing offence is to channel his intensity into being aggressive on the forecheck and asserting his position around the front of the net.

Weaknesses

That assertion often goes overboard and results in unnecessary penalties at inopportune moments.  Dumont was tied for second in penalty minutes on his team last season with 111, behind the 144 of his occasional top-line winger, Nick Tarnasky.

For an energy player to be granted a spot on an NHL roster, his coach must have confidence that the team will gain an advantage from his presence on the ice, whether that is a thunderous hit, an aggressive, prolonged shift in the offensive zone, or a drawn penalty that will allow the more offensive players to do what they do best.  A player who has exhibited undisciplined tendencies, like Dumont has over the course of his career, or Ryan White in his final two seasons as a member of the Canadiens organization, will find it difficult to regain his coach’s trust, especially given the limited ice-time a lower-tier forward is granted to change his coach’s opinion.

While Dumont does derive much of his offensive success from his presence around the net, it’s questionable how effective that strategy will be in the NHL given his modest size in comparison to the larger defencemen and taller goaltenders he will face at that level.  It’s one thing to have the willingness to go to the tough areas below the offensive goal-line and around the crease, it’s another thing to be able to outmuscle defenders and be enough of an obstacle in a goaltender’s line of sight to affect his ability to see pucks.

Projection

Given his rugged style of play and defensive abilities that include being a good faceoff man, Dumont could easily find himself centring a fourth line in the NHL.

His determination on the forecheck could at least land him a spot as a winger on that bottom line, relying on his work ethic and putting pressure on the defence of the opposing team.  If his offensive strategies can translate to the NHL level, he could even find some time playing as a third-line winger, providing energy, occupying defenders to free up linemates, and possibly directly contributing to the offence in a limited capacity.

That NHL roster spot will depend very heavily on him staying out of the penalty box and allowing his coach to have enough faith in him to give him the ice-time to showcase those talents.