Who is this guy?
Brian Dumoulin is a 6'4" 219lbs Defenseman from Biddeford, Maine who was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2009 NHL Draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired him as part of the Jordan Staal trade in 2012 which included center Brandon Sutter and the 8th overall pick Derrick Pouliot.
What are they saying about him?
Despite persistent rumours that he was just a "throw-in," at the time of the trade Dumoulin was widely considered to the the Hurricanes #2 D prospect and their #3 overall prospect. At the time of the trade TSN even commented that Dumoulin was the highlight of the deal. He is considered to be an all around defenseman, good at all aspects of his game, capable of playing in all three zones and in any situation. Throughout his career, first at college, then the AHL, and now in NHL training camp he has been given the opportunity to man the point on the top PP unit as well as being effective on the PK. He has been favorably compared to other all around D such as Duncan Keith, Christian Ehrhoff, and Filip Kuba. As far as the Pens go, he would be like a slightly more offensively talented version of Paul Martin.
Dumoulin receives almost all positive reviews of his overall performance, with The Hockey News saying he "Has great size, mobility and puck-moving qualities from the back end. Can also produce a fair amount of offense. Also owns the ability to play a shutdown role" and Jesse Marshall of Faceoff Factor said:
"The first thing you’ll notice about Dumoulin is his skating. Despite his large stature, Dumoulin is extremely fluid and is a technician in all three zones. Dumoulin plays a very safe and cerebral style of hockey. As we previously mentioned, he’s capable of pretty much anything on the blueline. He can chip in offensively, distribute the puck, and take care of his own end with a decent sense of physicality and positioning."
Hockey's Future's Ian Altenbaugh says of him:
"A big, talented defensemen and a proven winner at the NCAA level, Brian Dumoulin possesses the smooth skating stride of a player much smaller than 6'4, 219 pounds. Though not known as an overly physical player, Dumoulin possesses the strength, size, and balance to keep the front of the net clear of traffic. The defensemen is also an adept puck-mover with a hard point shot. Conducting himself with great confidence on and off the ice, Dumoulin possesses numerous traits which suggest he could develop into a reliable top-four defenseman in the NHL, most notably his ability to quickly retrieve the puck and move it up ice."
Even his teammates have nothing but good things to say about his performance, as former Boston College Captain Tommy Cross states "He does everything well. He's our top shutdown guy and he's our top offensive D-man, too. He does so much right and he's found a way to get better every year." Of course if there is one complaint, it seems that most feel that he does not play physically enough for a player of his size and would like to see him throw his weight around more. There has also been some suggestion that while he is effective offensively when it comes to dishing the puck, his own shot could use some work.
Where has he been?
Dumoulin started off playing High School hockey in Maine and then played a single season of Tier III Junior hockey for the Eastern Junior Hockey League's New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. He then went on to play for the NCAA's Boston College Eagles, playing with Pens prospects Brian Gibbons and Philip Samuelsson, as well as former Pens prospect Carl Sneep. In his Freshman season he was the 2nd highest scoring D and led the entire NCAA in Plus/Minus, he was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and BC won both the Hockey East Championship and the National Championship in the Frozen Four.
The following season as a Sophomore Dumoulin continued to improve, finishing as the highest scoring D on his team and the #6 D in Points in the entire NCAA, falling to #2 in Plus/Minus on the team behind Gibbons but still amongst the Top 20 in the NCAA. He was named to both the NCAA East and entire NCAA First Team All-American as well as the Hockey East First Team All-Star, the Hockey East Best Defensive Defenseman,and the New England Best Defenseman. BC once again won the Hockey East Championship, but lost in the first round of the National playoffs. He also represented Team USA at the World Juniors U20, bringing home a Bronze medal and finishing with a team high Plus/Minus rating.
In his Junior season, Dumoulin once again led the team D in scoring, and was #2 in the entire NCAA in Plus/Minus rating. BC once again walked away with the Hockey East Championship and the National Title in the Frozen Four. Dumoulin improved on the previous season by bringing home even more hardware, being named a Hobey Baker Finalist as well a member of the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team and named to the New England D1 All-Stars. In addition to that, for the 2nd year in a row he was named an NCAA East All-American and Hockey East First Team All-Star, as well as the Hockey East Best Defensive Defenseman and the New England Bes Defenseman.
Rather than going back for his Senior year, Dumoulin chose to turn pro and joined the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He had a little bit of a rough start, stuck under some big names in the lockout logjam on the blue line, and he had his ups and down as rookie tend to do, but by the end of the season he was one of the top 2 D on the team, fishing just behind veteran Dylan Reese in both Goals and Points. During the playoffs he stepped up to become the #1 D, tied for 4th overall on the team in Points.
When can we expect to see him?
Before getting injured in the first game of the pre-season it looked as if there could be a very real chance that we would see Dumoulin make his NHL debut at the start of the season. All he had to do was beat out Simon Despres, and he looked like he was well on his way to surpassing him on the depth chart. However, with the uncertainty in the Cap it is possible they don't keep either of them on the opening night roster unless they trade off one of their higher paid D such as the highly speculated Matt Niskanen. With the Cap and roster depth situation the way it is, it will be difficult for Dumoulin to crack the NHL roster this year, but sources indicate that he is the first name on the list if they need a D called up during the season. However, it seems almost certain that he will be playing in the NHL next year and the only thing that can stop him from being a regular D in Pittsburgh within 2 years is if we trade him away.
Why is he #2?
Dumoulin received 2 votes for 1st, 1 vote for 2nd, 4 votes for 3rd, and 2 votes for 4th.
How can he climb the list?
At this point climbing the list would involve Pouliot either being traded or turning out to be a bust, both of which seem incredibly unlikely at this time. However, Dumoulin is poised to remain the dominant #2 choice and can further solidify his standing by cracking the NHL roster and proving he can perform against the big boys. Also, as mentioned above it wouldn't hurt for him to throw his weight around more.