Hello and welcome to Part 2 of my 3 part QMJHL season preview! In this series I will take a look at current and (potential) future NHL prospects in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. I will cover each team in alphabetical order with six teams per part. For those of you who don’t feel like reading everything, I have left a convenient table at the bottom of the article.
The Drummondville Voltigeurs finished 38-26-2-2 and lost in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs to Rouyn-Noranda. The Voltigeurs could possibly lose one of their top scorers this year to the AHL. Olivier Archambault signed an amateur try-out contract at the end of last season for the Hamilton Bulldogs, but it doesn’t look like they signed him on for this coming season yet. Archambault hasn’t skated in any preseason games yet for the Volts. Archambault was drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 draft 108th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. He has put up 185 points in 4 full seasons in the QMJHL. My guess is we will see him during the preseason for the Bulldogs and, depending on how things go, could see him back in the Q or signing an entry-level contract.
As I talked about in Part 1, the Volts traded a 2014 1st round pick to the Titans for NHL draftee Christophe Lalancette. Lalancette was drafted in 2012 by the San Jose Sharks in the 4th round at the 109th pick. He had 102 points in 128 games in two season for the Titans, and so far he has 6 points (1G5A) in 5 games this preseason for Drummondville. Lalancette will be flanked this year by two promising young wingers Joey Ratelle, and Jerome Verrier. Both of these wingers are a bit undersized, but incredibly feisty. Verrier led Drummondville in goals and points last season despite his size, and is not afraid to step in and fight for his teammates. Verrier also attended the Winnipeg Jets training camp as an invitee. I could see him getting picked late this year if he gets a bit of a growth spurt, or if he continues to find ways to score with his size.
The Gatineau Olympiques went 29-34-1-4 and finished the season at #13 in the QMJHL. They found a way to upset Rimouski, but wound up getting swept in the second round by Halifax. The Olympiques are led by four NHL draftees, and have two promising youngsters that could see their names called in the next few years.
Let’s start out with an unmistakable name in Canada, Anthony Brodeur, who will likely be the talk of the QMJHL this year. Anthony is Martin Brodeur’s son, and was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in a classy move at the end of the 2013 NHL draft with the 208th pick overall. Some people think it may have just been a kind gesture to a retiring hall of famer, but Anthony has put up some solid numbers in net for Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota. In three years at Shattuck he posted a 2.32GAA and a .911 Sv%. Shattuck has bred some of the games best players so don’t think this was just a courtesy from the Devils, I expect Anthony to see the NHL in his future. In his first two preseason games with the Olympiques he has stopped 50 of 54 shots and has one win.
Emile Poirier was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the first round last year. Poirier was the leading scorer for the Olympiques last year with 70 points (32G,38A) and 101PIM in 65 games. Emile also had 10 points (6G,4A) in 10 playoff games for Gatineau. Listed at 6’1″, 183lbs. Poirier seems to be a tough forward that can get to the front of the net and score. Vincent Dunn was drafted by the Ottawa Senators with the 138th pick overall in 2013. Dunn had 52 points (25G,27A) in 53 games last year for Val-d’Or and was traded in the off season to Gatineau for two first round picks. That seems like a hefty price for an okay center, but apparently Gatineau thought it was worth while, and Ottawa seems to see something in him as well so keep an eye on Dunn this year. Martin Reway is a Slovak player taken at 116 overall by the Montreal Canadiens. Reway has seen extensive international play with Slovakia, and scored 50 points (22G,28A) in 47 games for Gatineau last year. He also posted an impressive 12 points (1G,11A) in 10 playoff games.
Gatineau has a few impressive youngsters too with defenseman Alexandre Carrier, and forward Alex Dostie. Carrier only had 7 points in 50 games during his rookie year with Gatineau, but his defensive play has found him on the roster for Canada’s U18 team. With a bit more playing time this year, and continued excellence in his zone, he may see his named called at the draft this year. Dostie is coming in to his rookie year with Gatineau. Drafted at #10 in the QMJHL draft, Dostie already has 4 points (3G,1A) in 3 preseason games with Gatineau.
The Halifax Mooseheads finished their season with a remarkable 58-6-3-1 record and lost only one game on their way to their first QMJHL Championship title. The Mooseheads were lead by scorers Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, and Martin Frk. The Mooseheads no longer have their scoring, but they still have their goalie, and a solid defensive corps.
Let’s start with returning goalie Zach Fucale. Zach was the top rated goalie in North America at the draft last year and was taken with the 36th pick in the NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens. Zach is a top rated talent, and I expect him to have another great year in Halifax. He is a winner, and will be a top goalie in the NHL in the future no doubt about it. Fucale is backed on defense by NHL draftee MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar was taken with the 206th pick in the draft by the Florida Panthers. Weegar had 44 points (8G,36A) in 65 games with the Mooseheads last year. His offensive numbers may have been a bit inflated by the team he was surrounded by, so I am excited to see how he does this year without that level of offensive talent around him. The same thing applies to Brent Andrews. Andrews was taken with the 202nd pick by the Nashville Predators, and may also have seen his stock rise due to the players around him. Both of these draftees were taken low in the draft and they need to use this season to prove to their respective teams that they were worth the picks.
The Mooseheads have a few prospects on their team looking to prove themselves after a fantastic year last year. One of them is right-wing, and team leader, Ryan Falkenham. Falkenham has been a defensive forward the last few years on an offensive team. Even while surrounded by such offensive talent, Ryan has found a way to get noticed. I expect him to be drafted next year, but where he goes in the draft will be determined by his performance this year. Finally, Nikolaj Ehlers is a Danish prospect that will be playing in his first year in the QMJHL. Ehlers has performed well for Denmark, and was playing at the highest level in Switzerland in National League A when he was drafted 6th overall by the Mooseheads in the first round of the CHL import draft.
The Moncton Wildcats finished the season 42-23-2-1, but were upset in five games by Victoriaville where three games went into OT. The Wildcats have lost a lot of players, and will come in to this season almost completely new. Because of this, the Wildcats have no NHL draftees on their team.
The Wildcats do have one of the top European prospects for this years upcoming draft. Ivan Barbashev was drafted 1st overall in the CHL entry draft in 2012. In his rookie year with Moncton he had 62 points (18G,44A) in 68 games. Unfortunately he fell off in the playoffs and only scored 3 points in the Wildcats 5 game early exit. Barbashev has some hype behind him, and there are a lot of expectations for him coming in to the 2013-14 season. The Wildcats have another prospect to keep an eye on as well. Conor Garland had 17 points (6G,11A) in a shortened 26 game stint with the Wildcats last year, and looks to improve on that in a full season with the Wildcats. Garland is also surrounded by a bit of controversy as he backed out of his commitment to Penn State, but he is an offensively skilled player.
The Quebec Remparts finished the season 42-21-3-2, and went on to lose in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs to Rouyn-Noranda. Despite falling short in the playoffs, the Remparts have a large pool of talent, and I believe they will go farther this year in the playoffs. The Remparts have 7 NHL draftees on their team.
The Remparts are led on offense by four drafted forwards. Adam Erne was taken 33rd overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and has 127 points (56G,71A) in 2 seasons with Quebec. He also had 6 points in 4 games for team USA at the Ivan Hlinka U18 tournament, and already has 3 points in 2 preseason games for Quebec. Nick Sorensen was taken with the 45th pick of the 2013 draft by the Anaheim Ducks, and has 56 points (25G,31A) in 54 games for the Remparts. Nick had an ACL injury in 2011 but, with a great year last year, is ready to bounce back and let the Ducks know he was worth their 2nd round pick. Anthony Duclair was taken with the 80th pick last year by the New York Rangers. Duclair is a leader, and has 116 points in 118 games in two seasons with the Remparts. I expect him to step in this season as a captain or assistant captain, and contribute at more than a point per game pace. Finally, for forwards, the Remparts were able to draft Swiss forward Fabrice Herzog in the first round of the CHL import draft. Herzog was picked in the fifth round of the NHL draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the 142nd pick. This will be his rookie season in the Q, and he will be under a lot of pressure!
The Remparts are led on the back-end by assistant captain Ryan Culkin who was drafted by the Calgary Flames at 124 overall. Culkin scored 45 points (5G,40A) in 67 games last year for the Remparts, and should be a leader again on the blue line. Culkin will likely see ice time with Colorado Avalanche draftee Dillon Donnelly. Donelly is much more of a physical defenseman, and is not afraid to step up to protect his teammates. The seventh and final NHL draftee for the Remparts is goalie Francois Brassard. Brassard was taken in the 2012 NHL draft by the Ottawa Senators with the 166th pick overall. He has had a good career so far in Quebec, but is looking to bounce back from a poor playoff appearance last year.
Even with seven NHL draftees, the Remparts still have two promising prospects at defense that could see their names called next year at the draft. Duncan MacIntyre and Cody Donaghey are both big kids that scouts will watch closely this season. Quebec should be a team to watch this year in the QMJHL with all of this talent!
The Rimouski Oceanic finished last season with a 41-18-3-6 record, but were upset in the first round by Gatineau. Rimouski will be led by 4 NHL draftees.
The first pick for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2013 NHL draft was Samuel Morin with the 11th pick overall. Morin is a big physical defenseman listed at 6’6″ 203lbs. He had 16 points in an injury shortened 2013 season, but still managed to rack up 117 PIMs in those 47 games. Morin looks to use his big frame in a full season for the Oceanic, and hopes to continue to grow his game. Sam isn’t the only first rounder on the team though. Frederik Gauthier was taken with the Toronto Maple Leafs first round pick last year with the 21st pick in the draft. Gauthier is big and physical like Sam, but brings it to the forward position. At 6’5″ 215lbs. Frederik scored 60 points (22G,38A) in 62 games for the Oceanic last season. Both of these first rounders will look to make a big splash in what will likely be their final year in the Q.
On the back-end for the Oceanic we have two more draftees in goalie Philippe Desrosiers, and defenseman Jan Kostalek. Desrosiers was taken in the second round last year by the Dallas Stars, and really shined for Canada’s U18 team where he posted a stellar .70 GAA and .970 Sv%.. Desrosiers needs to shake of a rough preseason though, in under 90 minutes played this preseason he has let in 8 goals on 48 shots. The Winnipeg Jets drafted Jan in the 4th round at 114 overall. Jan is a Czech player that had 18 points in 48 games for the Oceanic last year. The last three years he has played extensively on Czech’s junior teams, and will likely continue to in the future.
That will wrap up part 2 of my QMJHL prospect preview! Check back soon for the third and final part which will feature the last six teams, Rouyn-Noranda through Victoriaville! As promised before, here’s another table for you! At the end of the series I will try to make a complete table of NHL prospects in the QMJHL for your tracking convenience.
NHL Drafted Players
NHL Prospect Analyst
Dynasty Sports Empire