It’s not easy scouting players at the U.S. prep-school level, but the Detroit Red Wings took a long look at Philippe Hudon and had a good feeling about him.
“You have to project guys,” said Red Wings scout Mark Leach, of evaluating players at that level. “He’s a very competitive kid who can really shoot the puck. He’s very willing to play in front of the net and score dirty goals, play a physical game, and he just competes really hard.”
The Red Wings selected the 6-foot, 197-pound right-winger in the fifth round, 145th overall, in Saturday’s NHL entry draft in St. Paul, Minn., and are hopeful he’ll emerge as a prospect to watch when he suits up with Cornell at the NCAA level this fall.
Hudon, who has spent the past two seasons playing at Choate-Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., has easily stood out from the prep-school crowd, registering 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points along with 44 penalty minutes in 22 games this past season.
One thing that caught the Red Wings’ eye is Hudon’s bullet shot.
“He can shoot the puck and he’s not afraid to let ’er rip — from anywhere on the ice,” Leach said.
Hudon might have had more exposure to scouts had he gone the major-junior route like many of his Quebec-born peers such as Jonathan Huberdeau. He was a top-five prospect for the QMJHL draft in 2009 before announcing he was going to college.
With the Big Red, Hudon’s skills will be challenged much more than they were in prep school, and the Red Wings are eager to see how he pans out.
“He’s more of a north-south guy as opposed to an east-west guy,” Leach said. “I would project him as a third-, fourth-line guy, but he’s a young kid. They have a chance to change what you think they are and what they’ll be … so we’ll see what we end up with at the end of the day.”