Hearing his name called early on draft day is familiar territory for Zachary Dean.
Originally chosen fourth overall by the Gatineau Olympiques in the 2019 QMJHL Entry Draft, the budding forward is once again in the spotlight as a projected early selection in the upcoming NHL Draft.
An offensively gifted centre who rounds out his game with an admirable work ethic, the Newfoundland product put together an impressive first season with the Olympiques in collecting 18 goals and 28 assists to finish two points shy of the team lead in scoring in addition to earning a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie Team. This season, Dean has only continued to build on those efforts, already with 14 points through 19 appearances.
Dean reflected on his rookie season, representing his home province, and more in the latest edition of the CHL Sunday Spotlight presented by WINMAR:
What is it like to represent Newfoundland?
Being from Newfoundland and representing them, it is obviously something special. There have been lots of great players that have come up through Newfoundland and it is pretty cool to be from there.
How do you evaluate your rookie season with the Olympiques?
In my rookie season, coming into the league it was hard to know what to expect. The guys are three and four years older than you so I knew that there was going to be an adjustment with that and the speed of the game, but I think I adjusted pretty well. I think after Christmas I picked up my game and found my comfort zone. I think overall I had a pretty good rookie season.
What is your best strength as a player and how have you worked to develop this skill?
I think my best strength is my skating. I think that having lots of practice in being on the ice in the summers and doing different skating techniques like power skating has really helped it.
What are your goals this season?
My goals for the season are to play my best hockey and to contribute to our success as a team. For us, our goal is to go us as far as we can, to play for the President’s Cup, and then go to the Memorial Cup. After the year, I hope to be drafted to the NHL.
Which NHL player do you model your game after and why?
I like to model my game after Mathew Barzal. Watching him, I think we play a similar way and I like to apply some of his techniques to my game. Watching him really helps me.