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Islanders Sign William Dufour to Entry Level Contract

The 2020 5th-round pick has exploded with Saint John.

Saint John Sea Dogs v Quebec Remparts
Having himself a year.
Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

The New York Islanders have reached terms with William Dufour, their top amateur offensive prospect, on a three-year Entry Level Contract.

Dufour, who was a fifth-round pick in 2020, has had an outstanding junior season in the QMJHL with Saint John that has altered hopes for his NHL potential. The Isles announcement rolls through his impressive numbers:

Dufour, 20, leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals (52) and points (109) through 61 games this season with the Saint John Sea Dogs. His current point total of 109 is a new Saint John single season record for points, passing Jonathan Huberdeau’s previous mark of 105. Dufour also leads the league in game-winning goals (12), is tied for the league lead in power-play goals (17), tied for third in plus-minus (+51) and sixth in assists (57).

Still miles to go and much to learn and develop, plus plenty of adjustment if he doesn’t claim an offensive role in the NHL. But at this point he is looking like serious value for a fifth-round pick.

The Islanders pipeline is thin on high-end talent and they’ve dealt top draft picks as part of playoff pushes in recent years. When that happens, you need some mid-round picks to hit. If Dufour and (more likely) Aatu Raty — who returned to North America and was assigned to Bridgeport this week after a promising pro season in Finland — end up becoming legit NHL players, that will be the kind of draft success they need to compensate for trade deadline spending.

Team-leading junior numbers are to be viewed with some caution — and some heighten that caution when measuring the Quebec league — but Dufour’s stock has only risen since he was drafted, and things were tough to judge amid the pandemic interim season.

His draft year season was about a point per game and split between Chicoutimi and Drummondville. The following year, in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, he was a little over a point per game with Drummondville (17-12-29 in 23 games). It’s this season where he exploded, as Saint John acquired him as part of a series of preseason trades to load up for a run.