Daniel Audette Signs Entry-Level Contract

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens announced the signing of prospect Daniel Audette to a standard three-year entry-level contract. The Canadiens selected Daniel Audette 147th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Audette, the former first overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft, set a career-high in goals this past season with 29. For the second straight year, Audette led the Sherbrooke Phoenix in scoring. Although he has yet to emerge as a dominant force in the QMJHL, he very well could next season.

Here’s a talent analysis of Audette from my 2015 Top 30 Habs Prospects: #25-21 posted yesterday:

Audette followed up a breakout campaign with one marred by inconsistency and regression. He posted 28 points in his first 16 games, but was just under a point-per-game for the remainder of the season. Well his goalscoring improved (and production at even-strength), his overall play did the opposite.

The speedy Audette has the ability to blow past defenders and create space for himself with an explosive first few steps. While his edge work doesn’t shine, he’s deceptively fast. He uses this speed to excel off the rush, particularly as a playmaker. His passing mechanics are exceptional and his head is always up. However, he has a tendency to over handle the puck.

It’s in sustained pressure scenarios where Audette scores most of his goals. Off the rush, he typically looks to get close to the net, rarely firing a long-range shot. However, with pressure applied, Audette sneaks away from defenders, enabling him to use his accurate shot with a quick release. While he possesses an excellent set of hands, he has a habit of trying to dangle through too many players.

Defensively, Audette regressed this year. He moved his feet on the ice less than last year, which resulted in one of the speediest players on the ice often trailing the play. He exits the zone far too early, which is a nasty habit for a centre. When he applies himself, he’s a fairly capable player, but he didn’t apply himself enough this year. Furthermore, Audette takes too many selfish penalties.

While Audette is a highly skilled player, he’s lacking in the mental department of the game. His playmaking ability is among the best in organization, and he is lethal on the powerplay, but he must improve his two-way game and consistency. In Audette’s final junior season he is expected to emerge as one of the league’s top offensive threats.

 

Although Audette is one of the organization’s most individually skilled prospects, there are other areas of his game majorly lacking. However, he definitely has NHL upside and plenty of room to grow.

Audette will return to the Phoenix next season, where he will be expected to emerge as an offensive force. Sherbrooke also has high expectations, as the all four of their top scorers will return, as well as their top two defenders.

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