2022 NHL Draft Tracker: Tristan Luneau
Tristan Luneau is shaping up to be one of the top defenders heading into the 2022 NHL Draft.
The right-shot defensemen who hails from Trois-Rivières, QC is already considered a top-10 prospect by many scouts in the industry. Luneau is currently playing for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he has recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in eight games.
“Luneau is a smart, poise and mobile puck-moving defenseman who inserted himself in the offense with incredible fluidity. He showcased a fantastic composure in puck retrievals and breakouts, which enabled him to operate with an excellent presence of mind and find his best options,” Quebec-based FCHockey regional scout Andy Lehoux said.”Luneau maneuvered around forecheckers smoothly and evaded traffic with ease, flashing his ability to stop on a dime and some incredibly quick turns.
“He stepped up in counterattacks with confidence, and showed a slick passing touch to deliver feeds in tight. He also displayed splendid offensive instincts, cutting to open spaces on the cycle to create his own opportunities.”
Luneau slotted at No. 14 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2022 draft.
WHO IS TRISTAN LUNEAU?
Luneau is a skilled, young defender who’s life has revolved around hockey. His father Dominic is a former draft pick of the Laval Titan in the 1993 QMJHL Entry Draft, and his brother Tommy was selected by the Victoriaville Tigres in the 2018 draft. Tristan on the other hand, holds the bragging rights. The Olympiques selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 Draft, and he immediately stepped into a defensive role.
At a young age, Luneau played in a number of different tournaments to get his name on the scouts boards. He starred in the Brick Invitational, the WSI-U12 tournament, and competed twice in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. It was evident at a young age that Luneau had a competitive attitude and was willing to do whatever it took to succeed.
His stats as a young player earned him the honor of being selected first-overall in the 2020 QMJHL Draft. Now, Luneau looks to add a top-10 NHL draft pick to his resume as he enters his second season with Gatineau.
Luneau really started to make noise during the 2017-18 when he suited up for the Mauricie Estacades Bantam AAA squad in the Québec M15 AAA Hockey League (QBAAA) where he registered 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 30 games. That next season, he transferred to the Trois-Rivières Estacades of the Ligue de développement du hockey M18 AAA du Québec (QMAAA) and recorded 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) in 42 games. He went on to record five points (two goals, three assists) in nine games during their playoff run.
At the start of the 2019-20 season, Luneau would have the honor of being named captain of the Estacades. He would go on to have his best season, recording 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 37 games. He would take home the QMAAA Prospect Award, Top Defenseman Award, and be named to the QMAAA First All-Star Team, a season for the books.
Luneau has also represented Team Canada U16 at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2019-20. He picked up two assists in four games and captured a bronze medal. He will look to get a shot at Team Canada’s Under-18, and Under-20 squads.
It was clear that Luneau was ready to make the jump to the QMJHL, he immediately filled a role for the Olympiques. He went on to record 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 31 games as a rookie, was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team, and won the QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year (Raymond Lagace Trophy).
Luneau has already began turning heads of scouts at the highest level. His high hockey IQ allows him to slow the play down and make conscious decisions prior to making a play. While he may not be a large defenseman by any means, he is not afraid to get physical in order to shutdown a rush.
“Luneau is a reliable two-way defensemen who showed poise, decision-making and instincts well beyond his years,” Lehoux said. “His remarkable composure could be seen as he took control of breakouts, adapting and evading forecheckers on the fly with great fakes and smooth turns, as well as finding outlets assertively. Luneau activated himself fluidly in transition, showing his high-end awareness. He quarterbacked the power play with exceptional confidence and tremendous playmaking.
“Luneau made quick reads with and without the puck, keeping the puck in constant motion and jumping into open space instinctively. He flashed his splendid lateral agility and quickness from the point by escaping pressure with brisk sidesteps. He showcased a good stick, balance and strength battling for pucks, both along the boards and against transitions. If he can add a bit of explosiveness to his skating and continue on his impressive development path, he could have a chance to sneak into the top-15 of the 2022 NHL Draft.”
LUNEAU’S AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS
There are a few areas of concern when it does come to Luneau.
The positive side is, these are habits that can fixed and with some more coaching he will be able to polish off his game.
“I feel like Luneau needs to add a bit of speed and explosion to his game,” FCHockey regional scout Théo Lambert said. “He can be a bit late in races for pucks at times, especially if a change of direction is required from his part. I also think that Luneau could benefit from some more strength in order to box out players from in front of his net more easily. And, for a player that has so much skill, I would love to see him get more involved offensively, and not be scared to jump into the attack a bit more, because I feel like he has everything needed to be a decent point producer.”
Luneau looks to have another big season for the Olympiques, as well as representing Canada on the international stage. If all goes to plan, Luneau could very well be a top-15 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.
With only a handful of defenders slotted to go, Luneau could be one of the first Canadian’s to hear his name get called on stage. He has all the traits to become a top-four defenseman in the NHL.
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