Some are more important — and difficult — than others.
That’s the situation Boston College junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin was confronted with when he was picked in the second round (51st overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
“Obviously, it was very tough especially when an NHL team expresses how much it wants you to play for it,” he said. “Just hearing it from [director of hockey operations] Ron Francis and [general manager] Jim Rutherford was eye-opening. They said they thought I was ready, so they must have known what they were doing.
“But I came to BC to get a good, quality education and get a degree (he’s enrolled in the Carroll School of Management). Obviously, my parents (Peter and Deb Dumoulin) wanted me to make the right decision. I also had a 1½-hour talk with Mr. Rutherford. It all came down to my wanting a degree from Boston College and to be close enough to graduate at some point. If I had left after my sophomore year it would have been difficult someday to get my degree. That means a lot to my family and me.
“That’s one thing I got out of the way,” continued Dumoulin. “It was something I couldn’t let drag on. Plus, I need to improve a lot before I make the jump to the pro level.”
Perhaps the adjective that best describes Dumoulin is consistent. That’s reflected in his plus-minus rating.
As a freshman at BC, he had a plus-37 rating in 42 games, and last season he was plus-23 in 37 games.
Not surprisingly, at the end of last season, he was named a first-team All-American and Hockey East’s best defensive defenseman. He also took home the Bob Monahan Award as the top defenseman in New England.
“I think what I’ve been taught at BC is to be consistent,” said Dumoulin. “When I came to BC, I was an offensive defenseman. As soon as I set foot on campus, they taught me how to play defense. Working on defensive zone coverage in practice has helped me develop my defensive game.
“As much as I like to jump up, playing defense was embedded in me as soon as I set foot on campus.”
That being said, Dumoulin’s proficiency on defense attracted the attention of USA Hockey and as a result he participated in the 2010 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp and was named to the U.S. Junior National Team that played in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Dumoulin is quick to admit that he’s been able to take his game to the proverbial next level because he skated in each of the above.
“I think without a doubt playing in the World Junior tournament helped me out last year because of the opponents we played against … going against guys who were playing professional hockey in Sweden and all over the world,” said Dumoulin, who also played on Team USA in the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. “When we played against Canada, they were physical and hard-working. We play some teams like that in college. But seeing a style of game I’ve never seen before was eye-opening and helped me out in terms of seeing guys I could be going up against in my future.
“It was a different style of hockey. Sweden, for example, was fluid and regrouped and made short passes. Canada, like I said, was very physical. Just the contrast in teams was eye-opening. It made me a more consistent defenseman by playing against six teams from around the world.”
If consistent is an adjective that can be used to describe Dumoulin, a noun that’s appropriate is winner.
Dumoulin played on the Biddeford (Maine) High School team that capped an undefeated 2007-08 season by winning a second consecutive Class A state championship.
In 2009, when he was voted the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s defensive player of the year, he helped lead the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs to USA Hockey’s Tier III Junior A National Championship.
As a freshman, when he made the Hockey East all-rookie team, Boston College won the national championship.
“It was great to be able to play on those teams,” said Dumoulin. “But last year, when we didn’t end the season with a championship, it made me hungrier for this year — even though we won the Beanpot and Hockey East.
“Obviously, our goal is to win the national championship. But it really puts in perspective how fortunate I was to win all those championships. We had a great team last year, but only one team can win a [national] championship. It makes me want to work even harder for this year.”