Ben Duffy has his checklist for the coming season.
The P.E.I. Rocket forward wants to end his junior career by topping the 82 points he recorded last season and wants the team to be amongst the top squads in the Maritimes Division.
It won’t be an easy task following the Rockets’ last-place finish last season, but he’s up to the challenge.
“I think we’re going to be a lot more competitive this year than we were last year,” Duffy said Wednesday after practice. “We’re still a young team. I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading this team and trying to make the playoffs and surprise a lot of people.”
Duffy, a 20-year-old from Lower Sackville, N.S., will be counted on to be a catalyst for the Rocket offence again this season. He is in his fifth season in the league and is coming off back-to-back 80-plus point seasons.
While not a vocal player, Duffy leads by example.
“Ben’s a true professional,” coach Gordie Dwyer said. “He comes to the rink and he’s all business. … His preparation is second to none.”
Duffy has been skating with Matej Beran and rookie Alexis Pépin during the pre-season and said the three have good chemistry.
Duffy remembers his first Rocket training well. The then 16-year-old recalled his new teammates making him feel part of the team from those first days.
“I try to be the same way with all the new guys coming in now,” he said.
“When you meet all the new 16 year olds coming in, you kind of think to yourself how fast time went by. I have enjoyed it all so far.”
Duffy, who was not drafted, is taking some business and physical education courses at UPEI. He is not sure if he will play professional or university hockey next season and isn’t worrying about that right now. He is concentrating on the current season and helping his team improve each night.
Another issue veterans on rebuilding teams like Duffy face is the possibility of a trade during the season. Duffy said a lot would depend on where the team is when the freeze on trades is lifted around the Christmas holiday.
“If the team kind of wants to send me to a top team I’d be open to it, but at the same time it would kind of cool to finish my whole career with the Rocket.”
Did you know: Ben Duffy is a durable player. He holds the team record for the most consecutive games by a player at 227.
Message to the fans:
“They should expect a team that is going to compete every night and never give up. We’re definitely going to work hard for them and try to win every game for them.”
By the numbers
Season GP G A Pts.
2011-12 68 34 48 82
2010-11 68 37 44 81
2009-10 68 11 16 27
2008-09 62 18 23 41
The following are Rocket records since the team began in Montreal in 1999.
Most career goals
1. David Laliberté (2002-2007) 121
2. Michael Lambert (2000-2004) 105
3. Brett Lutes (1999-2003) 100
3. Ben Duffy (2008-2012) 100
5. Chris Doyle (2006-2010) 90
Most career assists
1. Pierre-André Bureau (2000-2005) 152
2. Marc-André Gragnani (2003-2007) 143
3. Brett Lutes (1999-2003) 131
3. Ben Duffy (2008-2012) 131
5. Chris Montgomery (1999-2002) 122
Most career points
1. Pierre-André Bureau (2000-2005) 239
2. Brett Lutes (1999-2003) 231
2. Ben Duffy (2008-2012) 231
4. David Laliberté (2002-2007) 229
5. Michael Lambert (2000-2004) 215
Most career games
1. Pierre-André Bureau (2000-2005) 346
2. David Laliberté (2002-2007) 279
3. Louis Robitaille (1999-2003) 271
4. Ben Duffy (2008-2012) 266
5. Jordon Southorn (2006-2010) 258