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David Goyette: 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Lethal Center When on the Move

Today, come check out a Canadian center who was a point producing force on a bad OHL team. On the move, he is dynamic, but how high will that get him in the draft?

2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

Welcome to another prospect profile here at AATJ! Today, we are going to be diving into David Goyette, another prospect hailing from the province of Quebec, Canada, that nonetheless spent time playing in the USA. But despite scoring less than Jordan Dumais, his teammate at the Selects Academy for AAA Bantam hockey, the other Quebec player to come to the states to play there, Goyette is ranked higher and is seen by most as a second round talent or even late first round. Let’s take a look at him and see why that might be so, what makes his game good, and if the Devils could have some interest in him.

Who is David Goyette?

-LINK TO ELITE PROSPECTS STATS-

Goyette is listed as a 5’11” center weighing 174 pounds. That doesn’t make him the biggest center, not by a long shot, but it is a size that is more in the normal range of acceptability for scouts and NHL teams, as opposed to Dumais. As I mentioned above, he hails from Quebec, specifically the town of Saint-Jérôme, which is located about 28 miles northwest of Montreal. He has a somewhat later birthday for his draft, having been born on March 27th, so he will be younger than the majority of his peers taken this year.

In 2019-20, David decided to come down to the States, and he joined the Selects Academy in Connecticut for AAA hockey. It was a solid decision, as he raked that year, posting 153 points in 65 games for the Academy. Then, after a sunk 2020-21 where he only played 6 games, Goyette went back to Canada where he joined the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. It isn’t as common to see kids from Quebec play in Ontario, but it worked for David, as he had a very strong year for the Wolves, producing 73 points in 66 games. He split those points fairly evenly as well, with 33 goals and 40 assists, so he was both a sniper and a playmaker as a center. Sadly, he played on a poor Wolves team that only ended up with a 23-38-3-4 record and missed the playoffs, so he did not get any playoff experience this past season.

On the positive, however, he did manage to get onto Team Canada for the World Juniors this season, and he had a decent tournament, with 1 goal and 3 assists in 4 games. With international play being prized by scouts and teams, and with Goyette managing to get onto the very competitive roster for Team Canada, that will be a big boost to his draft status.

Where is Goyette Ranked?

There is a fairly large spread of rankings on Goyette, which is interesting to see. With the completely sunk 2020-21 season, and with no playoff and only minimal international experience, there isn’t as much on him as scouts might like, which makes the rankings on him quite varied.

-Central Scouting, in their final rankings, has David as the #13 ranked North American skater, which arguably is a first round grade, albeit late first round when you throw in the Europeans. This is higher than most others will place him.

-Elite Prospects ranks him #51 overall, mid-2nd round.

-Future Considerations has him at #36 overall, right before the Devils pick at 37.

-TSN’s Craig Button has him #17 overall, super high and a mid-first rounder.

-Meanwhile, his colleague Bob McKenzie has a completely different take on him, instead only ranking Goyette as an honorable mention outside of the top 80.

-Smaht Scouting has David ranked #32, the last pick in the first round.

-Dobber Prospects ranks him #30 overall, at the end of the first round.

-The Hockey Writers has him at #42 overall.

What Others Have Said About Goyette

First, let’s check out the profile from the Last Word on Sports, who always do great profiles. They break down their scouting report into different sections, as I will show here:

-Skating: “Goyette is an elite skater. His stride is long and powerful. He has an excellent first step and outstanding acceleration. In terms of top-end speed, Goyette is amongst the fastest players in the draft.”...”Goyette also has excellent edgework and agility”...”Goyette is a bit undersized though and this can be a bit of a liability…can be pushed off the puck.”

-Offensive Game: “Goyette has outstanding stickhandling ability”...”absolutely deadly off the rush”...”excellent in transition, carrying the puck through the neutral zone and creating openings for himself and his teammates”...”when the play slows down in the zone, his offence is not quite as dymamic…his lack of size and strength sometimes leads to him losing the puck”...”Goyette has a good but not great shot. His wrist shot is accurate and the release is decent enough, but he lacks some power. As a result, most of his goals come from inside the home plate area.”

-Defensive Game: “Goyette works hard in all three zones. His quick skating allows him to get back quickly”...”does a good job of getting down low and supporting”...”while he lacks physicality and this can cause some issues, he does a good job of using his stick and his positioning to keep attackers to the outside.”

-Projection and Comparison: “Goyette speed and skills are an intriguing package but there is some risk here. If he makes the NHL, it will likely be as a top-six forward, as he isn’t really suited for a checking line role. He may also be a candidate to move to the wing, where there is less physical play and defensive responsibility. Expect him to spend another two years in the OHL bulking up and working on deficiencies in his game. He is a project who will likely need some AHL time as well.”

Along with the ranking, Dobber Prospects has a short blurb about Goyette and why they ranked him #30 overall. It is short enough to blockquote in full:

“Goyette is a standout skater and a wizard with the puck at top speed. He is one of the best skaters in this year’s draft and if given time and space with the puck through the neutral zone, he can make the opposition pay in short order as he doesn’t need much time to separate. Goyette’s puck skills are fantastic as he can handle tough passes while flying down the ice at high speed and then stop up and change momentum, and he understands the attacking structure in the offensive zone. He is more of a playmaker than a shooter, but when the opposition begins covering his teammates he can take matters into his own hands and score – he is especially deadly on the powerplay when he has a lot of room. Goyette’s negatives stem from his play in his own end where he can lose coverage and will turn the puck over if he is pressured enough.

He will have to continue to iron out some of the risky decision-making as he develops but Goyette has the potential to be an impactful transitional player who can provide offense at the NHL level.”

Back in January, Joseph Aleong from Future Considerations did a strong analysis on David’s game. It is worth checking out in full, as he supports his evidence with videos, and specifically cites from those videos to showcase Goyette’s game and how he plays. However, I will try to summarize some of the major points here. Initially, the author notes that Goyette had to fill the shoes of Quinton Byfield, and did an admirable job of it. As he writes, “his constant movement and impressive skills with the puck make him a player that brings fans out of their seats.”

When discussing his puckhandling, the author notes that “Goyette’s calling card is his electrifying puckhandling skills.” Further, he says that his “quick feet and hands make him elusive and dangerous when creating off of in-zone cycle plays.” However, he makes sure to mention that David has an “affinity for making flashy moves and his willingness to stickhandle into traffic can lead to poor turnovers.” Because of this, he says that he will have to “make more consistently strong decisions with the puck to earn special teams opportunities at the pro level.”

Moving along to skating ability, the author mentions that “Goyette is a quality skater who has good mechanics and shows effortless acceleration and edgework at times.” Further, he “shows long, powerful strides and good puck control at high speed.” However, he of course mentions that there is room for improvement, specifically citing “his limited use of linear crossovers to build speed.” But, as he has to mention, “his top speed is already among the best in this year’s Ontario draft class.”

Next, we have playmaking vision. Here, he writes that David’s “confidence handling the puck at high speed and his ability to manipulate defenders’ positioning with his hands makes him a dangerous rush threat.” Furthermore, “he has the puckhandling to get into high-danger areas and the vision to find open teammates through quick seams.” Also, “his patience with the puck is impressive, allowing him an extra step to diagnose passing lanes and find a teammate with a creative play.” However, that comes with the caveat that “he can be guilty at times of trying to force the puck into tight coverage.”

Finally, getting into his defensive game, he writes that “his intensity in the defensive zone and attention to detail in the defensive zone are still working their way to the pace of the OHL, Goyette has shown promising signs off the puck from the centre position and the awareness to support his defensemen in physical battles low in his own zone.” Further, Goyette “does a good job reading the opposing breakout and taking away the middle of the ice.”

A Little Video

Here is a highlight package from January when he won OHL rookie of the month. Sadly, David wears Eric Lindros’ #88:

If you want a deeper dive into his game, here is a package of shifts from this past season with Sudbury:

There are plenty of highlight videos from specific games, some of which are in that highlight package above. If you are interested, check them out in this search here.

My Take

For me, my perspective here when working on this profile was difficult to overcome. The profile I did before this was for Jordan Dumais, and there are many similarities. Both are from Quebec, both went to Connecticut to play AAA Bantam hockey, then both went back to the CHL to play a full season in their draft-eligible year. Also, both are smaller sized, although Dumais is exceptionally small, while at least Goyette has some height on him. And both dominated the scoresheet in their draft-eligible years.

Therefore, it’s just so interesting to me that Dumais is regularly getting ranked at least one round, if not two rounds lower than Goyette is. That isn’t to speak negatively about David at all, I think he is a very good prospect and I like him a lot. I would be happy with the New Jersey Devils taking him at 37 overall. But when you compare the two players, there are a ton of similarities. Both are playmaking forwards who use their superior skating and stickhandling abilities to generate offense, for themselves sometimes, but more often for their linemates. And they do this in spades, producing some of the top points totals in their respective leagues. But one is a little shorter and lighter, and so is valued significantly less.

Anyway, I digress. When just looking at Goyette, there is a ton to like. The best part, in my opinion, is that he has a high motor and plays a 200-foot game. He doesn’t take plays off and is willing to go down low to support the defense and get the puck up ice. And then once going up the ice, he is absolutely lethal on the move, with great vision and the ability to hit his teammates for quality chances on net. He might struggle a little more with set plays in the zone, but that is something that can be taught and worked on. And given his clear desire to play strong shifts and give it his all, you have to believe that he will be open to coaching and getting better once being drafted.

All-in-all, I believe he is someone you want to have in your prospect pool. He scores points, generates offense, plays the game the right way, gives it his all, and has succeeded wherever he’s been so far. If he is available at pick #37, I don’t see why the Devils shouldn’t take him. Give me Goyette in round 2 and Dumais in round 3, and then find size to fill in the roster around them. Frankly, why not?

Your Take

That is my take, however. Am I crazy? What do you think about David Goyette? Do you like him in the second round for the New Jersey Devils? Do you think he even makes it to pick #37? What do you like about him, and what bothers you about him? Please leave your comments below, and thank you for reading another prospect profile here at AATJ!