The Kings are clearly drafting for one thing this year: speed. Their picks so far have largely fallen into the category of “smaller, crafty forward”, and Aidan Dudas from the Owen Sound Attack fits that bill. Selected in the fourth round, Dudas is listed at 5’7”, and his height seems to be the biggest thing that really held him back from being picked higher. The fact that his draft rankings are all over the board are really a testament to that.
While his rookie year with Owen Sound was so-so (21 points in 56 games), he took a big step this past season. He was third on his team in points, with 65 in 68 games. He also got in a few games with Canada’s U18 squad and at the Hlinka Memorial tournament.
Need To Know
- Shifty, already skilled at evading other players
- Strong compete level/plays bigger than he is
- Patient with the puck, will wait for plays instead of forcing them
- Sometimes too generous with the puck, looking to pass to teammates instead of taking opportunities for himself
Future Considerations: 41
NHL Central Scouting: 68 (North American skaters)
ISS Hockey: 112
Dudas is a pure sniper. His wrist shot is amongst the best in the draft class. He generates a ton of power, has very good accuracy, and has a quick release. He can even vary his release point to fool goaltenders. Dudas is very dangerous when he can use a defender as a screen off the rush. He also has the soft hands to get tip-ins and to bury rebounds in front of the net.
He has a tendency to move in close to the net, unfazed by the fact that he will be smaller than every player who will oppose him there. He doesn’t need to get right to the doorstep to be effective, however. His compact size allows him to pull off stickhandling moves in quick succession, preferring a quick inside toe drag to get by defenders protecting against a shot, and using a surprisingly powerful release to beat goaltenders.
Dudas is at his best with the puck on his stick. He has excellent puck handling skills with an ability to keep the puck out of reach of defenders. He possesses excellent vision and superb playmaking/passing skills. But he also possesses a very good shot and once he began to realize it is an effective weapon at this level, he began using it more often and climbing up the shots on goal list in the OHL.
Dudas was an electrifying presence who consistently created havoc and created legitimate scoring opportunities for his team. Sure, he is slightly under-sized given his 5-foot-7 frame, however, what Dudas lacks in stature he more than compensates for with heart, as his willingness to compete with players of intimidating size clearly illustrated his desire to thrive.