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Top 25 Under 25: #19 Raphael Bussieres

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Our Top 25 Under 25 series continues with sassy left wing, Raphael Bussieres.

Jamie Sabau

In the 2012 NHL Entry draft, the Wild selected Raphael Bussieres, a left shot, left wing out of the QMJHL's Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Last season he made his transition to the AHL along with several of the Wild's prospects. At this point in his development, he is still a prospect. His point production increased pretty regularly throughout his junior career, and it's logical to expect the same trend with more years as a professional player.

Raphael Bussieres's most notable feature is that he is fun to watch. His game is rough and grumpy, a combination that is frequently very entertaining for fans. Because he doesn't mind playing physically and can play skillfully, he could turn out to be a very capable and dominant NHL player. His game is one that annoys opposition, both because he can score, and agitate. He's pesky and plays the style of game that Mike Yeo seems to admire out of "hard working players."

Bussieres isn't afraid of a fight. He had three fighting majors in 39 games during 2013-14, which would indicate that he doesn't get involved in a ton of fights, but instead, he only fights when the situation really calls for it. He's not a goon. But he is willing to engage opponents when necessary.

Here he is during the CHL's Top Prospects Game fighting Mat Dumba.

Like many of his teammates, his debut professional season was probably less successful than he would have wanted. The 5 goals and 14 assists he posted with the Iowa Wild was significantly less than the 68 points he had during his last season of junior hockey with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. The Iowa Wild, as a whole, scored much less than expected. Bussieres probably needs at least one full season on the Iowa Wild roster before he can even be a roster hopeful in the NHL. He needs time to adjust to professional hockey.

Scouting Reports

Corey Pronman described Bussieres prior to the 2012 draft (from Hockey Prospectus) :

"I've been thoroughly impressed by Bussieres' well-rounded skill set and his developing all-around game although game-to-game consistency has been a notable problem for him. He's a pretty good skater with impressive straight-line speed, gets up to his top gear quickly, is agile on his feet, and has fine footwork.[...] Bussieres also flashed a nice distribution game, and while it's not his best offensive tool, it's at least a tick above average as he shows nice poise and vision and does all the little things well with the puck with an occasional impressive dish. His physical game I get split opinions on, but I've gotten more that are positive, and my viewings I would confirm that. Bussieres' frame is pretty bulky, he fends off checkers well, and he has average effort in the corners, so I wouldn't classify that as an issue."

The Wild's own Assistant GM, Brent Flahr also described him post draft:

"Raphael plays a real rugged game[...] He has skills that fit well with what we're trying to do here. He plays a power game with an edge. He gets under the opponents skin and can back it up. Those guys are hard to find."

Projection

Basically, he is the prototypical Mike Yeo player: hard working, scrappy, and has a peppering of skill. I like Raphael Bussieres. He's fun to watch and seems to enjoy even the grittier aspects of his game. It doesn't hurt that he's got some speed. He's got a confidence that is obvious, and he is one of the more entertaining players that the Iowa Wild can showcase. He will develop for a few more years and hopefully, he will successfully make the jump to the NHL.