Who is Jean-Sebastien Dea?
Jean-Sebastien Dea is a forward who currently plays with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. He had a breakout season this year as an 18/19 year old for the Huskies after going undrafted in his first year of eligibility in 2012. He had an underwhelming 2011-12 season in the Q where he struggled especially before Christmas break, scoring only 5 goals and 8 points in 39 games. He was able to pick it up in the second half with 12 goals and 24 points in 27 games, but it wasn't enough to get him drafted. The start of the 2012-13 season was the polar opposite for Dea, as he was on fire, gathering 16 goals and 26 points in the first 12 games, good enough to lead the Q in scoring for a while and grab a few awards. He cooled off a bit after the start, but still finished with a strong 85 points in 68 games, good enough for 11th in the league. Dea also had a strong playoff run for Rouyn-Noranda, with 21 points in 14 playoff games.
This breakout season means that J-S Dea is garnering himself some buzz as a prospective draft pick in his second go-around of eligibility. Dea has been ranked the 152nd North American skater by the NHL's Central Scouting and landed at #232 in Corey Pronman's rankings at Hockey Prospectus, so he will project to possibly go somewhere in the late rounds. The over-age Dea found his way onto a lot of radars with his huge start to the season in the Q, so it will be interesting to see if teams like him enough to take a flyer on him in round 5/6/7.
Dea is not the biggest guy out there, and despite growing a bit to hit 6 feet tall between his last two seasons, he is still slight of frame at 160 lbs. He will have to add some bulk to hang around in the NHL. He has some good offensive tools at his disposal though if he has the space. Scouts feel he is quick on his skates and has a good shot with a quick trigger. His size is an issue and he will need to bulk up, but he has some pretty nice offensive weapons and displayed this past season just how good he can be as a player when he is on.
What Experts are Saying about J-S Dea
For any late-rounder, opinions are going to be a bit more scarce, but Dea's hot start in the QMJHL while the NHL was in lockout limbo means there was some time to take a look at the over-aged Dea. Here's some notes from McKeen's Hockey on Dea:
light, darting-type centerman .. clever and nimble enough to avoid most heavy collisions, however can be easily knocked off the puck when contact is initiated .. a sound and efficient skater .. changes directions swiftly without telegraphing his intentions, displaying excellent control of his edges .. generates effortless power from an economical stride .. biggest weapon is an elite wristshot and snapshot ..
must work diligently to add muscle and mass to a lean six-foot, 160-pound frame .. his lack of size and upper-body strength will always make defending a challenge ..
It's not the most uncommon theme to see with a prospect; a guy has some nice offensive weapons but will have to work on his strength to make sure he's not getting steamrolled before he ever uses them. It's a big if, but if he can get bigger or just find a way to get stronger on the puck, he has some nice upside for a late-round pick.
Adam Kimelman of NHL.com did a piece on Dea in the fall after his hot start in the Q, talking about his breakout after a disappointing 2011-12 campaign. Some highlights:
"We knew his ability, his capacity to score, his hockey sense," [Rouyn-Noranda Huskies coach Andre] Tourigny said. "He grew 2 inches and 10 pounds over the summer [to 6 feet tall and 155 pounds]. I knew he was bigger. I'm not surprised [at his start]. I cannot say I was expecting him to score more than a goal a game, but I'm not surprised by the fact he's had a lot of success."
That success has led to a QMJHL player of the week award and his selection to Team Quebec for the Subway Super Series games against Team Russia, to be played Nov. 5 and 7.
Good to hear that a coach likes a player's hockey sense, and based on how much Dea grew in that offseason, maybe he is still working on filling out that frame. The height is there to an extent now, he will now have to gain some serious bulk, though.
And a bit more from Dobber Sports:
Jean-Sebastien Dea is another example of an underdog player who is not particularly big yet is extremely shifty and talented with the puck.
Again, as with many late-rounders, information is a bit limited, but you can see a bit of a consensus on Dea. He's a smaller forward who has some nice skills on the puck and decent overall offensive upside.
Not much in the highlights department, but there is this video of him scoring against Russia in the Subway Super Series:
Also, if you speak French, you can find some features on him like this one.
With these possible late round picks, it's almost impossible to predict if a particular team will take them, but I think the Devils would do well to pick up Dea if he's around in the 6th round. There's certainly a chance he just won't have the physicality to make it at the next level, but I think he has a decently high ceiling, which is all you can really hope for at this stage of the draft. Good hockey sense, skating quickness, and a high-quality shot means J-S Dea has some nice offensive weapons at his disposal if he can add some muscle to his currently slender frame. I like him as a guy to take a chance on late in the draft.
What do you think of J-S Dea? Do you like his potential for a late round pick? Do you think his season was just a flash in the pan or a sign of things to come? Sound off below and thanks for reading.