QMJHL Report: February 2020

Nicholas Kawka




World Junior Wrap-Up


Congratulations to Canada and Russia on another classic battle for World Junior gold.  Like many expected, Alexis Lafreniere was outstanding all tournament long and earned the honors of tournament MVP.  With his performance, Lafreniere has almost certainly cemented his spot at the top of the 2020 NHL Draft rankings.  


As mentioned in the January report, other QMJHL showings of note at the tournament were over ager Egor Sokolov from Cape Breton, Sherbrooke goaltender Samuel Hlavaj and Gatineau defender David Aebischer and they continued their success into January.  


Since his return to QMJHL play, Sokolov has posted 20 points in nine games, including a four-goal outing.  His fierce play at the tournament and skillful display back in the Q have likely generated a watchful eye of scouts the rest of the season.  


Despite being peppered all-tournament for Slovakia, Hlavaj shook off the bruises and stood tall in the Sherbrooke net going 7-0 in January with a 0.922 goals-against average.  He’s been great all year long for the Phoenix.  


Aebischer continued his stellar offensive play into the new year scoring six points in his first five games back.  In fewer than half of the number of games from last season, Aebischer has reached his total point production and has established himself as a reliable scoring option on the blueline.  Aebischer has signed on to play for HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the Swiss league in 2020-21, but with an out-clause to play in the NHL.


(David Aebischer, courtesy of the QMJHL)


All three are draft-eligible and it will be interesting to watch for their names to climb draft boards.


CHL Prospects


Just when you came down from the hype of the World Juniors, it was time to gear up for the CHL Prospects game showcasing some of the best of the 2020 NHL draft class from across the country.  The QMJHL sent Alexis Lafreniere, Mavrik Bourque, Ryan Francis, Vasily Ponomarev, Samuel Hlavaj, Jeremie Poirier, Lukas Cormier, Thimo Nickl, and Dawson Mercer. Stealing the show was Saint John defenceman Jeremie Poirier opening the game for Team Red with a goal and adding an assist while Dawson Mercer scored late in the game in a losing effort for Team Red.  Bourque and Ponomarev saw a steady amount of faceoff work and Hlavaj split time for the winning Team White.  


The next benchmark test for these prospects will kick off in March when the competition really gets fierce and the heat gets turned up in the playoffs.


Conference Coverage


The East – Chicoutimi


Talk about rocking and rolling, the Sagueneens have won seven of their past 10 and currently lead the Eastern Conference.  It should come as no surprise. With the additions of Raphael Lavoie, Felix Bibeau, and Dawson Mercer at the trade deadline, scoring hasn’t been an issue, but it’s the all-around play of the team that should have the