Jan 19: After receiving just seven shifts and still registering a -2 rating, Dufour has been returned to the minor leagues. The young forward will have to wait patiently for his next opportunity.
Jan 18: The New York Islanders have made a couple of roster moves, after blowing a lead Monday night against the Washington Capitals. Dennis Cholowski and William Dufour have been recalled. This is the first recall of Dufour’s career.
Cholowski, 24, was picked 20th overall by the Detroit Red Wings back in 2016 but has rarely had the opportunity to play in the NHL. The left-shot defenseman has patrolled an AHL blue line all season, racking up 17 points in 35 games with the Bridgeport Islanders. On Monday, Parker Wotherspoon played just over 12 minutes, as the team desperately awaits the return of Adam Pelech, one of their most important players.
It’s Dufour that will grab the attention today though. The 20-year-old forward was a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 but experienced an incredible breakout during his last season of junior hockey. After scoring just 29 points in 23 games during 2020-21, Dufour scored 56 goals and 116 points in 66 with the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2021-22, winning a Memorial Cup and helping Canada win gold at the World Juniors.
That performance ended up in a Memorial Cup MVP and QMJHL MVP, and skyrocketed Dufour’s confidence. He’s carried it over into the professional ranks, with 25 points in 37 games so far in Bridgeport.
The Islanders may have nabbed a late-bloomer that can be an impact player in the NHL, given this isn’t your typical undersized junior scorer. Dufour stands 6’2″ and plays a heavy, physical game. So impressive, that it’s going to earn him a look beside Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey on the first line, if the practice groups play out. The big right winger could have asked for a better opportunity to make his NHL debut.