Gabriel Dumont was already demonstrating the sort of leadership skills that have defined his career when he was drafted into the Montreal Canadiens organization in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
He was an alternate captain for the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL the year he was drafted. When the team took part in in the 2009 Memorial Cup, Dumont was widely perceived as one of the more defensively responsible players of the entire tournament.
His compete level earned him plenty of praise as he was indispensable on the penalty kill in the game that ultimately send the Volts to the semi-finals, capped off with an overtime goal scored by Dumont himself.
A year later Dumont was signed to a three-year entry level deal by Montreal after leading the league with 51 goals, racking up a total of 93 points in 63 games. Even with the stellar offensive numbers, he was awarded the Guy Carbonneau trophy as the best defensive forward in the in the league.
After spending his full 2010-11 rookie season with the Canadiens AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, he made his debut with the Habs the following year, playing three games. It wasn't until he received another call-up the following season that he scored his first NHL goal.
In six professional seasons, Dumont has struggled to get playing time in the NHL, playing just 18 games. He's currently on his third professional contract with the organization, and remains one of the few players still on the farm team who was drafted by the previous administration.
Dumont still aspires to play in the big league, as any hockey player would. While he waits for that next opportunity to play in the NHL, he accepts his leadership role as part of a very important core who shape the present and future of the organization.
When discussing the Montreal Canadiens leadership core, the usual suspects are Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, Carey Price, and Brendan Gallagher. This title has been earned by these players who strive to provide an example of behaviour and effort on and off the ice, and serve as important role models for the other players on the team.
These are of course well-deserved reputations for these six gentlemen, but the contribution of Gabriel Dumont, captain of their AHL farm team, should also be spoken of in the same light.
Now in his second season as captain, he is the steward who ensures that the new crop of prospects entering the professional ranks are given a role model on how to be a pro. The example is a specialization in defensive responsibility while maintaining a 20-goal-per-season tempo. He makes the case for everyone that skill alone will not make you a great player, but rather a combination of skilled play, a good work ethic, and the ability to overcome adversity.
Through all of the recalls this season, many are surprised that Dumont has not yet made the list. In true leader fashion, Dumont says he's happy for his teammates who have gotten time with the big club. "It shows you're not that far when you're in the minors; not that far from the NHL. These guys played really hard for us and they deserve everything that they have."
So as players like Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto, Mark Barberio and Charles Hudon get called up from St. John's, rest assured that there is a part of Gabriel Dumont in their game play.