6'1", 195 lbs
Second Round, 46th overall 2012 NHL Draft
One thing that continues to come up with Brent Flahr draft picks are traits like character, speed, strength and Bussieres is no different. He brings strength to the table, especially on his skates, can be gritty down in the corners and the forward is not afraid to play on both ends of the ice. Raphael isn't afraid to shoot, finishing third in goals this season with Baie-Cormeau, and is able to create plays from the forecheck and transition at the junior level.
Highlight Video by friend of the blog Jerome Berube
He's also not afraid to be overly physical although sometimes it can be too much. Bussieres was suspended for 3 games in the QMJHL playoffs for a hit that injured an opponent; not unlike fellow Minnesota Wild second round pick Brett Bulmer.
It isn't the offensive dynamo that many would love with a forward but still there's a similarity that Bussieres shares with Chuck Fletcher-era second round picks.
For the most part, they all fit into the same mold where the picks are players who have the offensive upside to play a top-6 role yet have enough grit and versatility to play in the bottom-6. It's easy to compare Raphael to a player like Bulmer since they can score and provide more as pests. The latter was something Wild fans got a quick peek at when the 2010 second rounder (39th overall) was with the team for the first nine games of the season.
The same can be said for Jason Zucker (59th overall in 2010). Although Zucker has blossomed into more of a scorer during his two seasons at Denver, when Minnesota drafted him it was when he mostly spent time as a defensive grinder. That was the sole reason Zucker was on the 2010 Gold Medal WJC team and while he has speed and offensive capabilites isn't out of place playing on a NHL third line.
This, and a skill and sandpaper guy like Raphael Bussieres, brings a new element to the prospect pool as Fletcher and Brent Flahr try to get their "3 NHLers every draft." By having guys who can play anywhere in the top-9, it's not a big deal to bring up someone to the second line if there are injuries or a wing is struggling. There is a new, almost evil genius, level of depth and the days of "Warren Peters, first line center" will be a thing of the past.
Simply put with Bussieres - and every other second round pick - is that Minnesota wants a player who can get NHL minutes by any means necessary (the grit and physical pay). If they can score, that much better.
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