ProSportsBlogging’s “Future Stars” series, featuring profiles and interviews from some hockey’s top young prospects, was fortunate enough to speak with Dillon Fournier, the first overall pick in the 2010 QMJHL draft. The 6’2 defenseman spent the 2009-10 season with the Lac St. Louis, and finished the regular season tied for the team lead for assists by a defenseman (12). In addition to superior puck distributing skills, Fournier plays mistake-free hockey and his steady play was one of the driving forces behind the Lions’ surprising playoff run. Lewiston was so impressed with Fournier’s play that they traded up to acquire the #1 pick, even though he was only ranked as the 8th best player available by the QMJHL’s Central Scouting.
Dillon Fournier has all the tools to become a future pro, but he must first conquer the Q. Based on his comments below, it seems like he’s eagerly awaiting that challenge.
PSB: On May 1, 2010, the QMJHL’s Central Scouting list is unveiled and you are ranked as the 8th best player eligible for the draft. Just over a month later, Lewiston trades up to the #1 spot and they select you as the first overall pick. What did that mean to you, for a team to want you badly enough that they trade up so that they can be sure that they will be the one’s to draft you?
DF: It means everything! For a team to want you enough to trade for the first overall pick is really something special. I think it will make my transition into the organization a lot easier considering I already feel so welcomed. I can barely explain how grateful and excited I am to be given the chance to go play for the Lewiston Maineiacs.
PSB: Steve Bernier, Sidney Crosby, James Sheppard, Simon Despres and Brandon Gormley were all first overall picks in the last decade. That’s an impressive group that you are now joining. How do you feel you will handle the elevated expectations of being a number one pick?
DF: Even though the pressure is on, I’ve always felt as if my game only improves under the spotlight. I have no problem with the expectations of being a number 1 pick and am really looking forward to showing the league what I can do!
PSB: Nowadays, D are often slotted as either offensive, puck-moving defensemen, or stay at home, shutdown defenders. You have the skill set to generate offense from the back end, but also the size and mobility to be tough to play against. What role do you see yourself playing at the next level?
DF: I plan on making a career out of being a puck-moving defenseman. It’s what I do best and shows the most of my potential. I also feel that I have the skill set to create offense. So I think with confidence and maturity, I could become a dominant two way defenseman in the league
PSB: When someone watches you play, be it a scout or a fan, once the game has ended, what aspect of your game do you hope they identified as being your best quality?
DF: I’d have to say my puck moving abilities. I take a lot of pride in passing and transition. I have a great head for the game, and the ability to stop oncoming rushes and immediately turn them around to create 2-1s and 3-2s. It’s how I get a lot of offense generated, while still maintaining my defensive responsibilities.
PSB: If someone who has never seen you play asked you to compare your style of play to that of a current NHL player, which pro do you feel is a good comparable that you try and model your game after?
DF: Throughout the year, a lot of people have been telling me that I play a very similar style to Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s a great skater, with tons of skill and is extremely aware of everything on the ice. This is a huge honor considering he is a Norris trophy candidate this year.
PSB: This summer will without a doubt be very important for you in terms of preparing to play as a 16 year old in the QMJHL. What do you hope to improve on over the summer to ensure that you will be ready to step in and contribute right away?
DF: I plan on going into the league next year ready to take on as much as possible. Therefore I think with lots of training, adding some weight and maybe a little more speed, I’ll be ready to play any role the Maineiacs would like.
PSB: Alright, last question, and you had to know this was coming! Who is better – Dillon Fournier, or your older brother and now teammate Stefan Fournier?
DF: We are really different players, so I guess people will have to choose their favorite next season. It will for sure be a debate among many people, hopefully I’ll come out on top more often than not but we’ll just have to wait and see!
PSB: Dillon, I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions. I wish you all the best for the upcoming season in Lewiston, and like I told another future star, I hope to see you competing for our province of Quebec at the U17s.
DF: Thanks a lot and no problem!
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.