Prospect Of Interest: The 411 on Benoit-Olivier Groulx

Halifax Mooseheads' first-overall pick Benoit-Olivier Groulx (Vincent Ethier/QMJHL Media)

Whatever Benoit-Olivier Groulx lacks in explosiveness, he makes up for in feistiness.

A competitive player who thinks the game at a high level and is capable of playing it on every inch of the surface. He’s slated to be among the final 10 picks in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. And he projects to be a middle-six NHL centre down the road.

Let’s take a peek at what Groulx brings to the table.

Team: Halifax (QMJHL)
Position: C
Shoots: Left
Age: 18
From: Rouen, France
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 190 pounds

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THREE-TIME TEAM CANADA REP

Though Groulx was born in Rouen, France, he grew up in Gatineau, Quebec and represented Canada in international competition on three occasions before his 18th birthday—which was back in February.

There was the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics, where Groulx had four goals and two assists in six games with Canada. He played for Canada Red at the 2016 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and also had a goal and two assists in five games at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

THE SCOUTS SAY…

Talent evaluators say Groulx is a strong, tenacious, two-way centre who is a good skater.

He’s just not a great skater. Perhaps finishing off the 2016-17 with an ankle injury didn’t help his cause in that regard, but he says he made considerable improvement over the off-season and that helped carry him to a 28-goal and 55-point output in 68 games with the Mooseheads this year.

But he has other elements to his game. Groulx is known for his edginess, work ethic and hockey sense.

“High motor, always keeps his feet moving, rarely caught out of position, provides a lot of grit, determination and skill,” say the people from futureconsiderations.ca. “Excellent ability to maintain puck control in high traffic areas. Uses his strength, skilled hands and agility to be very difficult to defend. Provides good pressure on the back check. Displays a strong effort in his own zone as well as his ability to create scoring chances.

“A solid prospect that could be the complete package with high upside at the NHL level.”

DAD GAVE HIM A HEAD START

They say learning starts at home.

That was certainly the case for Groulx, who is the son of one of Quebec’s most successful coaches over the past decade.

Benoit Groulx was a pro hockey player in France who came back to his native Quebec to start his career as a coach.

He is a former QMJHL Coach of the Year who now runs the bench of one of the most successful AHL franchises—the Syracuse Crunch. He also coached Canada’s world junior Team in 2015.

ADMIRES JAMIE BENN

In one of 20 questions Groulx answered for the Halifax Moosheads, he lists Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn as the player he admires most.

Also, he loves the movie Happy Gilmore and would like to own a Maserati one day.

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