Weight: 185 Pounds
Date of birth: August 4, 2000
Hometown: Waterdown, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 13, 259 overall, 2016 Priority Selection; Round 3, 37 overall, USHL Entry Draft
NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect
NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 196 North American Skaters
NHL Central Scouting final rank: 164 North American Skaters
Like fellow Ontario Junior Hockey League defenceman Mason Snell, Pickering Panthers blue-liner Dustyn McFaul has gained some attention as a potential late round find for the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
With an August 4, 2000 birthdate, McFaul is one of the younger players eligible for the NHL Draft. He attended the training camp of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, but that was a tough roster to crack. When he didn’t make the cut with the Frontenacs, he needed a place to play and the Panthers came calling.
McFaul was named to the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top Prospect Game, Junior A’s version of the CHL and USHL Top Prospects Game but an injury prevented him from taking part. Being named to participate, along with the improvements he’d shown throughout the season, led to an offer from Clarkson University and a full scholarship from the Division 1 NCAA school. But it is said that it was at the Annual Governors Showcase in Buffalo N.Y. that he first caught the attention of Clarkson.
That commitment and scholarship doesn’t take effect until the 2019-2020 season leaving McFaul to make a decision for next season. He’s likely to return to the Panthers and one more season of Junior A hockey. But the USHL is still an option for him.
McFaul appeared in 38 games for the Panthers – missing 16 games due to injury and a suspension. He scored 4 goals and 15 assists during the regular season and adding a goal and a helper in 7 playoff games. He received the Ryan Annesley Award as the team’s Defenceman of the Year and named to the OJHL First All-Prospect Team.
What McFaul accomplished as a rookie in the OJHL came as quite a surprise. He quickly became a player who could eat up large minutes, averaging 28 minutes per game when I saw him. As a youngster, he was thrown into every situation, be it penalty killing, powerplay and 5v5 against the top players the opposition could throw out there.
Not only was McFaul a leader on the blue line, but he showed excellent leadership qualities on a young Panthers squad. He is very coachable and seems to absorb what the coaches are telling him. He’s also very humble and puts aside any personal achievements and goals for those of his teammates.
At 6’2”, McFaul has good size, but will need to put in some work to add much needed bulk to his frame, something that he is aware of. It can only help him in the defensive zone when it comes to battling in those hard areas. He has an above average wing span for a player of his size and he uses it effectively. His mobility is very good and in combination with his stick skills and size, keeps players from getting to the danger areas.
Offensively, McFaul is very good at joining the rush, making very good first passes and has shown he can quarterback a powerplay. He needs to improve his shot, but it can also come along when he adds some muscle.
Above all else, the thing that stood out to me most, and talking to those around his game, it is his work ethic. It may have been a blessing in disguise for McFaul not to make the Frontenacs and the OHL at the time, and he realized that he needed to put some work in and he did. And his attitude tells him just making it isn’t good enough, he’ll continue to put that work in to improve throughout his career.
McFaul, like Snell, isn’t one of those guys that you draft hoping he can make your squad in a couple of years. He’s a project that you will need to put in some time with and realistically, if he develops into his full potential, you’re looking at 5 or 6 years away. If you are a team with a deep prospect pool, he’s the type of player you look for in the late rounds.