Montreal Juniors coach/GM Pascal Vincent likes having center Louis-Marc Aubry on his team, but understands the fact that some other coach will get more out of the player than he ever will.
But that's what happens when you draft a 5-foot-10 player and within a year and half, he sprouts to nearly 6-4.
"We won't get the most out of him in major-junior," Vincent told NHL.com. "When he's 23, 24, 25 years old, he'll be more used to his body, stronger, more confident."
Not that the 18-year-old version isn't pretty good.
The 6-3 1/4, 186-pound forward scored 15 goals and 33 points in 66 games, and had a team-best 124. Aubry added a power-play goal in seven playoff games as the Juniors lost in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs to Gatineau. He's No. 87 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2010 Entry Draft, a slight improvement from No. 89 on the midterm list in January.
Aubry was one of five QMJHL forwards to play in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, and was the only one to score a goal -- an empty-netter for Team Cherry. He also has been invited to the NHL Scouting Combine next month in Toronto.
"He's got good vision, got good hockey sense, got good strength," said Vincent. "What I like most is his intensity ... doesn't mind giving hits, doesn't mind taking checks to make plays."
Some of Aubry's skills certainly are genetic -- his father, Pierre Aubry, played five NHL seasons with the Nordiques and Red Wings.
"I think my father's helped me a lot," Louis-Marc told NHL.com. "He played the game. He knows what it takes to play in the NHL. I like to hear from him."
He said the talks he has with his father, though, rarely stray toward his on-ice play. Instead, Pierre plays the supportive dad.
"He doesn't say too much about the game," Aubry said. "When I have rough times he helps me get through it. It's more support. ... He knows the feelings I have because he's passed through it, so it helps."
The only real issue for Aubry right now is filling out his frame.
"It will come with time," said Vincent. "We would like to see him stronger right now, but it's physically impossible -- he's as strong as he can be right now. He's not thin or skinny, but there's a lot of room for him to get bigger. He's going to gain 20, 30 pounds of muscle and be pretty hard to play against, especially one-on-one."
Vincent said players like Aubry are given nutritional information, and the club brings in a personal trainer a few times a week during the season to work with the players. During the season, however, it's more about maintaining what was done during the summer.
"I don't think during the season we can gain a lot, but we don't want to lose anything," said Vincent. "Getting stronger, getting bigger off the ice, that's going to happen during the summers, in the gym. In the season, it's just keeping what you've built during the summer."
"He's a two-way centerman, he's good defensively, and he can bring something offensively, too," said Aubry. "He's good on the boards. I like to play good in my zone, not to give up goals, and at the same time bring something offensively to play in the other zone, bring some shots to the net."
Vincent sees the Staal comparison as a fair one. He's also excited to see what a finished Aubry will look like.
"He's got good skating techniques, so he's going to get faster," said Vincent. "His shot is going to improve. He's already making hard passes on the tape. I think it's just a mater of time."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com