Every step along the way, Nicolas Aube-Kubel knows he’s got more and more eyes on him as the 2014 NHL Draft approaches — and, after a bit of a slow start, he believes he’s hitting his rhythm as the Val d’Or Foreurs play in the tournament semi-final.
“I think with the team, we’re more trusting of our team game and I know my game has improved,” he said.
With so much of the opposition’s focus on Anthony Mantha, Aube-Kubel has had to provide that much-needed secondary scoring.
“During the whole playoffs, they’ve been focusing on Mantha’s line, so my line has had to show up,” he said. After finishing the regular season with 22 goals and 31 assists in 65 games, Aube-Kubel notched 13 points in 21 QMJHL playoff matches but has been held off the scoresheet to date at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
“During the season, I really felt that I needed to be better in the playoffs because I know that all the scouts will be watching,” he explained. “And then once we won the QMJHL playoffs, I felt I needed to be even better in the Memorial Cup.
“I have an opportunity in this tournament to show people what I can do. I’m very happy about that because not every player gets that chance.”
Initially listed at 45 in Central Scouting's midterm rankings, Aube-Kubel jumped to the 40th overall position in the final rankings released in April.
“I was very pleased with my ranking,” he said. “At the beginning of the year, I was shocked that I was the first Quebecois listed, but I’m very pleased with my positioning."
Once the Memorial Cup is over, he’s expecting to get back in the gym — even though he knows he’s going to be exhausted.
“I’m going to be training extremely hard, that’s for sure,” he said. “I would be working out anyways, but I really want to focus building up to the (NHL) Combine. It’s going to be tough, I’m going to be tired after the season, but it’s going to be important for my future.”
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