2012 Minnesota Wild Prospects: #15 - Raphael Bussieres
Posted by Nathan Wells on Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Left Wing, 6'1" 195 lbs
Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) 21-23-44 in 56 games
We're back counting down the top 20 prospects in the Minnesota Wild organization after a Labor Day-inspired hiatus. When we last left you, Houston Aero Kris Foucault was named the 16th-best prospect and discussing how he may be the original "tweener" mode in the pool. Right above him in fifteenth is the newest one - 2012 second round pick Raphael Bussieres.
Although he is raw compared to other forwards in the prospect pool, the 18 year-old Bussieres has plenty of tools to take his game to the next level. He's been a scorer in the QMJHL - finishing third on his team in goals last season - with a hard and accurate shot yet isn't afraid to get dirty. Bussieres plays with a chip on his shoulder that carries his play and will look for the hit on both ends of the ice like a Cal Clutterbuck.
Bussieres doesn't turn it off - hell, Raphael went hard enough where he took a stick in the face and lost a tooth...in a scrimmage (see above). He fought Minnesota's 2012 first round pick Mathew Dumba...in an exhibition top prospects game.
He can go over the line, however, and Bussieres joined fellow Minnesota prospect (and 2010 second rounder) Brett Bulmer in the "get suspended during the CHL playoffs" club last year.
At the same time, Bussieres has a combination of speed and size that can't be taught. He is a strong skater in general - not just for someone who is approaching 200 lbs before their 19th birthday - and for an organization that is trying to get bigger and faster Raphael exemplifies both.
Whether he is the next Clutterbuck, a high-end checking line player who occasionally scores, or in the same line as a second rounder like Johan Larsson or Jason Zucker (who have been able to score in the Swedish Elite League and NCAA, respectively, yet have sandpaper in their game) remains to be seen. Bussieres has shown those offensive flashes with Baie-Comeau but hasn't been as consistent in that regard despite having sniper qualities.
Part of that was a problem the entire team had. Like the Drakker, Bussieres was successful early and often before a subpar second half resulted in a coaching change and in fact, 37 of his 44 points were scored before January 1st. While the second-round pick did contribute in other ways (when not missing time due to a concussion) before re-discovering his scoring touch in the postseason, the next year (with Memorial Cup-winning coach Eric Veilleux) will go a long way in seeing where Raphael fits in.
There's plenty of risk and reward with the 2012 second rounder. He has a game that is fit for the top-9 but the jury is out whether Bussieres can be a Clutterbuck or the next Milan Lucic.
Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#16 - Kris Foucault
#17 - Nick Seeler
#18 - Tyler Cuma
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac