January QMJHL Report
Holiday movers and shakers
The Joe Veleno blockbuster wasn't the only trade made across the QMJHL this holiday season. After the pre-Christmas trade that sent the one-time exceptional status 15-year-old to Drummondville for three first-rounders and a pair of second-rounders, the “Q” saw many big moves, including one with it's two main components still at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo; Joel Bouchard's Armada acquiring Drake Batherson from Cape-Breton. Blainville-Boisbriand's top pick in the 2017 Midget Entry Draft Felix Lafrance, Kyle Havlena, Shaun Miller and a 2020 first-round pick were the cost for the gold-medal winning scoring star.
The top netminder selected in said draft Tommy Da Silva was also sent packing by Cape-Breton, in return, the Eagles receive forward Isiah Campbell. Both players have had disappointing seasons compared to what the expectation was. Da Silva is not playing at as high a level as last season in Midget AAA, while Campbell had just one goal in 33 games with the Sea Dogs.
Arguably the top goalie in the Q over the past couple of seasons, 2016 St-Louis Blues second-round pick Evan Fitzpatrick was dealt to Acadie-Bathurst in an exchange of 19-year-old goaltenders. Reilly Pickard, having a better season than the more-heralded Fitzpatrick goes to Sherbrooke in a one-for-one deal.
In a domino effect deal, defenseman Jaxon Bellamy also goes to Sherbrooke by way of Moncton. The Wildcats sent the recent 16th overall pick to the Phoenix for a 2018 first-rounder (Blainville's) and their own 2019 second-rounder. A hefty price for a rookie compared to some of the other deals made, but Bellamy is a full package d-man with big potential.
To make room for Bellamy, Sherbrooke unloaded one of their own defenseman in Vincent Lampron. The recently-turned 19-year-old defensive d-man goes to Gatineau and should slide into a top-four role in his second QMJHL season.
Gearing up for the future, Gatineau also acquired Midget AAA overage scoring star Brandon Frattoroli. The 17-year-old's rights, along with a 2019 second-round pick go to the Olympique from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in exchange for veteran defenseman Will Thompson.
One of the bigger storylines of the season in the Q was the status of Cam Askew of the Shawinigan Cataractes. The big-bodied goal-scorer seemed to be the odd-man out in Shawinigan when the team ran into roster issues having too many over-agers. Long after the rumoured trade of Askew it finally happened with Charlottetown ponying up a 2019 third-round pick for the American. Askew has already scored in his first game with his new club, and should be pumped to go from the league's worst team to the eighth-place Islanders.
Aside from these notable transactions, many other quality pieces changed places over the past few weeks. For a full list of trades consult the official QMJHL transactions page.
– Mike Barrett
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