P.E.I. Rocket management sees a bright future for Lower Sackville’s Ben Duffy — and that future is expected to extend well beyond the years he’ll spend in Charlottetown.
Duffy was the top Nova Scotian picked in Saturday’s QMJHL draft at Centre 200 in Sydney, going fifth overall to the Rocket and taking a major step forward in his young career.
Savard compared Duffy to Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine.
“I see him as a first-rounder in the NHL a couple of years from now,” Savard raved. “He’s a pro player, absolutely.”
The 16-year-old centre has spent the past two seasons ripping apart the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, piling up 67 goals among 146 points in just 85 games.
He was one of 21 Nova Scotians selected on Saturday.
“It’s great,” Duffy said, moments after draping a Rocket jersey over his head. “The goal of mine was just to get drafted, but being the first Nova Scotian picked is unbelievable.”
P.E.I. is a young team, and Savard is looking for Duffy to join forces with former first-round picks Brandon MacLean of Bedford and Benjamin Cassavant to help the Rocket contend. He said Duffy should earn a regular shift right away.
“Everywhere he’s been, he’s been a No. 1 scorer and by the time he’s 18, he’ll be a top scorer in the Q,” Savard said. “He’s a point-scoring machine and he’s going to help us.”
Glace Bay forward Logan Shaw went 12th overall to his hometown Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, followed by a run of four consecutive picks from the Subways.
Dartmouth forward Bradley MacDonald went to Gatineau at No. 30; twin brothers Michael and Andrew Roski of Halifax went 36th and 38th to the Montreal Juniors and Moncton Wildcats; and Dartmouth’s Matthew Fortune went 48th to Gatineau.
MacDonald, a speedster who busted out with a monster second half, watched some of the QMJHL semifinals between the Olympiques and Halifax Mooseheads at the Metro Centre and came away extremely impressed.
“They’re one of the teams I wanted to get picked by,” the 5-foot-9, 174-pound forward said. “They won the championship this year so they’re obviously a good organization.”
Central Scouting had MacDonald ranked 20th overall, two picks away from the first round. He slipped, and Gatineau couldn’t have been happier, according to chief scout Renaud Lemay.
“We were looking at him in the first round and we were surprised he was still there — there was no hesitation,” Lemay said. “He’s a good skater and we think he’s going to score goals.”