I awoke this morning to see this on Twitter:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Pittsburgh Penguins signed (F) Jean-Sébastien Dea to entry level contract <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NHL&src=hash">#NHL</a></p>— nhlfreeagents.com (@NHLFREEAGENTS) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFREEAGENTS/statuses/379821888584691713">September 17, 2013</a></blockquote>
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So I decided to take a break from our regular profile of the Top 25 Under 25 prospects and take a look at the newest member of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Tony Androck of Highland Park Hockey chatted with him recently and wrote a great article about him.
Who is this guy?
Jean-Sebastien Dea is a 6'0" 155lbs Center from Laval, Quebec who went undrafted through both the 2012 and 2013 NHL Draft. He was invited to the Penguins Prospect Development Camp on an ATO back in July and then was one of a handful of players asked to come back to continue their tryout at the Rookie Tournament earlier this month. After the Rookie Tournament all the other players were released and Dea was the lone free agent invite to the NHL Training Camp.
What are they saying about him?
Most of what was said about Dea, particularly in his first year of eligibility, was that he was too small. He has decent height, but he is built like a twig. However, offensively his skill cannot be overlooked, as some have said he has "one of the best wrist shot in QMJHL for sure. Very good offensive player" and "deadly wrister, great hands and decent speed." Andre Tourigny, coach of the QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda Huskies said "We knew his [Dea's] ability, his capacity to score, his hockey sense."And in regard to Development Camp Tony Androck said "he showcased his skills with impressive skating, puck handling and shooting that week." Prior to the 2103 Draft, our friends at In Lou We Trust did a profile on Dea.
He has some good offensive tools at his disposal though if he has the space. Scouts feel he is quick on his skates and has a good shot with a quick trigger. His size is an issue and he will need to bulk up, but he has some pretty nice offensive weapons and displayed this past season just how good he can be as a player when he is on.
And they include a scouting report from McKeen's hockey.
light, darting-type centerman .. clever and nimble enough to avoid most heavy collisions, however can be easily knocked off the puck when contact is initiated .. a sound and efficient skater .. changes directions swiftly without telegraphing his intentions, displaying excellent control of his edges .. generates effortless power from an economical stride .. biggest weapon is an elite wristshot and snapshot .. rang the cross-bar in the opening period coming in off the right wing, and firing blocker-side on the goalie from what appeared to be a seemingly impossible angle .. gets impressive velocity from a minimal, compact wind-up .. must work diligently to add muscle and mass to a lean six-foot, 160-pound frame .. his lack of size and upper-body strength will always make defending a challenge
double-shifted all night long, including first-unit penalty-killing duties, a testament to the quality of his all-around game .. possesses a high hockey IQ on both sides of the puck .. makes quick decisions and very few mistakes ..anticipates the game impressively – always seems to know where he is going before the puck gets to him .. shoots with purpose and precision, rarely missing the net, albeit without great velocity .. plays with a shorter stick, resulting in a hunched-over skating style from which he only generates average speed .. does posses quick feet however, which provides the agility needed to manoeuvre in tight quarters, with the short stick helping to protect the puck in traffic .. showed off a non-stop motor and very high compete level .. finishes checks with surprising authority for his size and is not easily separated from the puck
Where has he been?
Dea spent the past two seasons playing for the QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. His rookie season he was said to have been used in primarily a Bottom 6 role on the Check line, but despite that put up some impressive numbers, finishing 3rd on his team in Goals and 4th in Points, and despite a negative Plus/Minus rating was the 8th highest on a lackluster team. Then last season he had a breakout year, finishing #1 in Goals and #2 in Points on his team during the regular season and tied the team record for most Hat Tricks in a season, and then he was #1 in Goals and #3 in Points during the playoffs.
For part of the season early in the year he was leading the QMJHL in scoring, he slowed down a bit later in the year, but still managed to finish #6 in Goals and #11 in Points in the entire QMJHL. During the playoffs he did even better, finishing #3 in Goals, ahead of both Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, and #8 in Points. He was also noted for having the highest Shooting %, #1 in Power Play Goals during the regular season, and #2 in PP Goals during the playoffs in the entire QMJHL.
When can we expect to see him?
Dea will be returning to the QMJHL for his final season this year and then will likely join the WBS Baby Pens next season. He is signed to a 3-year Entry level Contract, and when he returns to the Juniors it will slide an additional season, so we have him under contract up through the 2016-17 season. He needs to continue to bulk up to reach an ideal NHL size, but in another 3-4 years we could see him fighting his way into the NHL roster.