BUFFALO, NY — It was just three days ago that New York Islanders prospect William Dufour made his NHL debut. It was a short debut as the 20-year-old played 6:48 minutes against the Boston Bruins, as he was on the ice for the first two goals against–with a few mistakes–and then sat and watched the final 29 minutes of the game.
“I liked his first period. I like some of the things he did. He’s a big body. He went to the net hard, and he’ll continue to learn and grow from that,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “And that’s what that’s about from that standpoint.”
“He’ll be fine.”
After being sent back to Bridgeport on Thursday, many were concerned with how Dufour’s confidence would be affected after struggling with his NHL debut.
Two days later, Friday, Dufour took the ice for Bridgeport in their matchup with the Rochester Americans, skating with Cole Bardreau and Jeff Kubiak.
In overtime, Dufour played hero as he stripped the puck in the defensive zone before leading the rush up the ice, a two-on-one with teammate Ruslan Iskhakov. Looking pass all the way, Dufour sniped Americans netminder Malcolm Subban for his 15th goal of the season.
LETS GOOO DUFOUR!! pic.twitter.com/UFreot3jua
— Bridgeport Islanders (@AHLIslanders) January 21, 2023
There’s a lot to like about William Dufour’s game. He’s a big body, standing at six-foot-two and weighing 205 pounds. He also has a cannon of a shot, as you just saw.
Dufour is a raw prospect, with his skating one the primary flaws in his game, as well as just understanding the speed of the professional game.
Against the Bruins, he seemed confused in his own zone with their Bruins and shiftiness.
But it’s his first season in Bridgeport, and he’ll continue to fine-tune his game.
The most important thing the New York Islanders organization and the fan base needed to see was that his NHL debut did not take a mental toll on him.
And with his overtime tally Friday night, it appears William Dufour will be alright.