While Dubois was a virtual lock to be chosen among the first five players off the board, it was expected that the Blue Jackets would instead choose winger Jesse Puljujarvi with their pick. Instead, Puljujarvi ended up being selected one pick later by the Edmonton Oilers. While slightly surprised by his selection by Columbus, Dubois feels that in time he’ll fulfill the lofty expectations that come with being a top-3 selection.
“I was a little surprised but mainly because everybody has been talking about the big three,” Dubois said. “I think I’m a guy who developed later than others. I gained 50 pounds, 45 pounds the past two years, three inches. I think my ceiling is still really high. I still have a lot to go, a lot to learn. I can still get bigger and stronger.
“They draft you for what you’re going to be in your prime, and I think in my prime — that’s what I tell every team in the combine, in my prime I think I’m going to be in the top three, and not just the top three but maybe top four, top five.”
The 6’3″, 202-pound Dubois made gains in the draft rankings due largely to a strong second half of the 2015-16 season in which he finished with 42 goals and 99 points in 62 games. He added seven goals and 12 points in 12 QMJHL playoff games, and was named the QMJHL’s Best Professional Prospect ahead of the draft.
But it may have been his performance on a bigger stage – the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game – that catapulted Dubois up the rankings.
“Yeah, it’s one game to play your best in front of everybody,” Dubois said of his one-goal, two-assist performance at the premier draft prospect showcase. “I think that was one of my best games of the year, and I mean, that was pretty important to play well there.”
Dubois has been described as a versatile, two-way forward, a description that the Blue Jackets’ top pick seems to think is an accurate one.
“I think, like I said earlier, I want to be the guy you can count on, whether it’s power play, PK, whether you’re winning 1-0 or you’re losing 1-0, I want to be the guy you can count on, and I think in a couple of years I can be that guy,” said Dubois. “I still have a lot to learn, obviously. I’m still a young guy. But I’m sure with the staff and the players in Columbus I’ll learn a lot from them, and I think in a couple of years I can be that.”
Some of Dubois’s comments (including in French) following his selection by Columbus can be viewed below in this Hockey’s Future video.