It was November of 2017. I had some extra time that season so, I thought I would spend all those extra hours scouring the Ontario Junior Hockey League to see if anyone piqued my interest. On that cold November night in Pickering Ontario, I came across a 17-year-old defenseman playing for the Pickering Panthers.
As the season moved along, I made no secret that I liked this young player named Dustyn McFaul. Unfortunately, there are those that believe that if you like a player, that you’re talking about him as a top half of the draft type of player. But the fact is, there are seven rounds to the NHL Entry Draft and you have to find players you like in each of those rounds even though chances are slim that they’ll ever play in the NHL.
McFaul was going to be a late round pick and he was also going to be a project that would be 5 to 6 years away from turning pro. Prior to the Bruins selecting him in the 6th round, 181st overall in 2018, I wrote this on my sister blog covering the Ontario Hockey League’s draft eligible players.
In April of 2020, my good friend Kirk Luedeke allowed me to publish a post on his site, The Scouting Post, that included my conversation with Clarkson University Associate Coach Josh Hauge. You can have a listen here.
The only thing that kept McFaul from joining the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL was that he arrived at camp having just turned 17 days before camp began and the Fronts were loaded with veteran defensemen. And once he became accustomed to the OJHL, it was clear that he could play beyond that level.
While McFaul had the tools and the tool box, and despite the fact he was going to need a lot of grooming, he was always ahead of himself. As Coach Hauge said, he could have spent another season in Junior but they felt he was ready for the NCAA.
McFaul is getting top-pair duties with Clarkson and going up against the opposition’s best players. He is a fixture on the penalty kill. He can eat up big minutes. He has added some bulk. There are a lot of positives to his game that the Bruins are satisfied with.
However, as with any player, there is always a negative.
McFaul’s offensive game has not developed to what I or many other people expected at this point. Even after he scored his first NCAA goal, there was some promise that it would come. Projecting a player’s offensive potential at the next level is not an easy assignment. Even if it appears the tools are there, something just doesn’t click and it never materializes. However, a player has to be good at other areas of the game and McFaul appears to be in that group – for now.
Unfortunately, that has been McFaul’s lone NCAA goal to date in 2-plus seasons (of course, the pandemic affected last season). It’s alright to admit his offensive game hasn’t developed to what some of us had hoped for at this point. Is there still time? Sure, there is but with every passing moment, what we had hoped for diminishes more and more.
That’s not to say that McFaul could not find himself as a steady shut down defender that can play against top players, eat minutes and be a superb penalty killer at the NHL level. That part of his game has continued to develop at a rate that was expected.
McFaul will spend this season and next with Clarkson. But at the end of the 2022-2023 season, the Bruins will have to make a decision on his future as they will only hold his rights until August 15, 2023 once his NCAA career is over.
Here’s a look at Bruins prospect’s stats:
Providence Bruins Player Stats
Providence Bruins Goalie Stats
Maine Mariners Stats
AROUND THE GLOBE
Oskar Jellvik continues to be sizzling hot increasing his point streak to 10 games on 7 goals and 7 assists. After going pointless in his first three games, he’s made the scoresheet in every game since.
To say Matias Mantykivi had a horrific start for Ilves Tampere in the Finnish Liiga is an understatement, but he’s now on a 4-game point streak 3 goals and 2 assists.
Trevor Kuntar quietly has a 5-game point streak going on 1 goal and 4 assists after being held off the scoresheet on opening night.
Peter Cehlarik returned from injury after missing 6 games and scored a goal in his return ending his 2-game pointless streak.
Ty Gallagher had a 3-assist effort against Merrimack on Saturday.
Brett Harrison also returns from injury and scores the game winner and sets up the empty netter on Friday and had 2 goals on Sunday, both against the Niagara IceDogs.
Fabian Lysell completes the trio returning from injury and scores once and assisted on two others on Friday against Kamloops Blazers, but is held off the scoresheet Saturday against Kelowna Rockets.
Roman Bychkov remains pointless in 10 games in the KHL and has been a healthy scratch 13 times for Amur Khabarovsk in 23 contests.
Coming up this week:
|Cehlarik||vs SKA||vs SAL|
|Bychkov||vs CSKA||vs JOK||vs BAR|
|Arnesson||vs FRO||Vs ROG|
|Mantykivi||vs SAI||vs TAP||vs IFK|
|Gasseau||vs WAT||vs WAT|
|Langenbrunner||vs WAT||vs WAT|
|Kuntar||vs VER||vs VER|
|Lohrei||vs M ST||vs M ST|
|Becker||vs ST T||vs ST T|
|Duran||vs NH||vs NH|
|McFaul||vs MI T||vs MI T|
|Gallagher||vs MAS L||vs MAS L|
|Harrison||vs NB||vs SUD|
|Mast||vs LDN||vs OS|
|Svedeback||vs MUS||vs MUS|
Finally, I made an ever so slight change on the prospect’s chances of playing for the Bruins. This is based on potential, how far along they have come on their development curve, speaking to others around the game and their thoughts, but most importantly, the depth situation for the Bruins at that position and how long the players ahead of them are under contract. This is not reflective on a player’s chance of playing in the NHL – just the Bruins.
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