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When the rosters were announced for the CHL Top Prospects game, Aidan Dudas was originally left off the lest. He was added as an injury replacement and stole the show, picking up two goals and an assist. It was redemption for the undersized centre who was the 10th overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Dudas earned his spot. This season he scored 31 goals and 34 assists for 65 points in 68 games for Owen Sound. He also added three goals and seven points in 11 playoff games. The Attack beat the London Knights in four games, before taking the top-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to seven games.
After the playoffs, Dudas joined Team Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He picked up one goal in three games. Dudas has plenty of international hockey experience. He also played for Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka, scoring one goal in five games and winning a gold medal. He also put up five points in six games playing for Team Canada Black at the Under 17 Hockey Challenge in 2016-17, winning a silver medal. Dudas also had three points in six games at the Youth Olympic Games as a 16-year-old, bringing home another silver medal.
Aidan Dudas Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Right
Born June 15th, 2000 — Parry Sound, Ontario
Height 5’8″ — Weight 167 lbs [173 cm / 76 kg]
Undersized, Dudas will need to make up for it with his skating ability. His top-end speed is good, but it is not great. His first few steps and his acceleration are good though. He could work on lengthening his stride and this would give him more speed and power. Dudas is very shifty. He makes quick cuts and can beat defenders one-on-one. His shiftiness allows him to weave in and out of traffic, both with and without the puck. Dudas has a low centre of gravity. This gives him good balance and he battles hard for pucks on the boards and in front of the net. However, just due to sheer size, he is sometimes knocked off the puck.
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. Dudas is a hard worker. He is willing to battle for his spot in front of the net, as well as fight for loose pucks along the boards. His feet never stop moving during a shift and this is a big advantage for the diminutive forward.
Dudas can also play the role of playmaker. He is a very good stick handler. He combines this with his agility and elusiveness to make defenders dizzy in one-on-one situations. He can control the puck and wait for a play to develop. When an opening appears, he has the vision and passing skill to take advantage, making a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate. With all this skill, there still seems to be something missing from Dudas game though. He sometimes tries to be a bit too fancy and creative and this can lead to getting himself caught in a bad situation or turning the puck over. There are times when Dudas simply needs to move the puck quicker and not try to beat every man on the ice.
Dudas kills penalties for the Attack. His anticipation and quickness help him to read plays and cut down passing lanes to create turnovers. Once such a turnover is created he moves the puck quickly and can be a shorthanded threat. His never quit attitude helps him to battle down low and fight for loose pucks. Still his size can be a limiting factor against bigger and stronger opponents.
Projection and Comparision
Dudas has the potential to be a middle-six NHL forward. While he is currently playing centre, his lack of size and the lack of blazing speed indicate that he is likely to end up a winger at the pro level. He will need to get stronger, as well as work on lengthening his skating stride. His game is reminiscent of Johnny Gaudreau, but this is a style comparison only, and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages of Dudas that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
WINDSOR, ON – NOVEMBER 16: Forward Aidan Dudas #27 of the Owen Sound Attack celebrates his game-tying goal in the third period during a game against the Windsor Spitfires on November 16, 2017, at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)