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From NHL Dreams to European Realities: Daniel Audette’s Path

Drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NHL Draft, Daniel Audette, son of former Habs player and staff member Donald Audette, entered the hockey scene with promise. Audette displayed impressive scoring in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), leading to high expectations despite a late draft position. Yet, unlike his father, an NHL career eluded him. After five seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL), Audette took his talents to Europe (Sweden, Russia, and now Switzerland), currently playing in the Swiss A League with HC Ajoie.

Tracking Audette in the Swiss A League

For Montreal Canadiens fans keeping tabs on their ex-prospects, Audette’s journey in Europe is of interest, especially in the context of the development of last year’s first-rounder David Reinbacher.

Despite the challenges he has faced integrating into a 5th team and 6th league in the last six years, Audette has been a consistent presence for Ajoie. His performances, alongside Jonathan Hazen, an ex-Val d’Or Foreurs star and another North American transplant, have been noteworthy. This duo’s ability to adapt and perform in Europe highlights the diverse paths that hockey careers can take although it’s evident Hazen’s has been more productive featuring as one of the league’s top scorers per me writing this. The two are currently representing Canada at the ongoing Spengler Cup.

Evaluating Audette’s NHL Prospects

While Audette’s scouting report has shown resilience and skill as his primary appeals, his chances of returning to an NHL roster appear slim. According to an NHL scout covering Central European talent, the current trend favours larger speedy and skilled skaters who can maintain puck control under pressure. Audette, despite his commendable skating abilities, hasn’t showcased the consistent scoring prowess needed to stand out in the competitive European leagues.

Now 27, Audette’s profile contrasts with players like 21-year-old Vasily Atanasov in the KHL, who, despite a similar stature, is scoring at a point-per-game pace. Such players are drawing attention from NHL teams looking for the next dynamic, smaller forward, akin to Kirill Kaprizov.

The Path Forward for Audette

For Audette, a return to North America hinges on his ability to make a significant impact on the scoreboard. While his journey diverges from the typical NHL pathway, it reflects the diverse and often unpredictable nature of professional hockey careers. As he continues in the Swiss A League, his progress will be an interesting subplot for those tracking the evolution of ‘lost prospects’ I’ll keep you guys posted.

Lost Prospect Grade : C+