The regular season has now officially come to a close and the President’s Cup Playoffs are now in full swing. With the qualifying playoff round completed the matchups are set for the quarter-finals.
While there haven’t been too many upsets thus far there was one big one that saw the 15th ranked Rimouski Oceanic take down the 5th ranked Shawinigan Cataractes in a deciding Game 5. Rimouski will now meet the top-seeded Quebec-based team in the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the quarter-final round.
With news that the OHL will not have a season in 2021, the Memorial Cup has also been canceled for the 2021 season leaving the QMJHL teams hungrier to capture the President’s Cup.
Quarter-Final Round Matchups
The quarter-final round will consist of a best-of-five series that will have the round of eight series winners seeded with the highest seed against the lowest seed. The quarter-final matchups are as follows:
Charlottetown Islanders VS Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Val-d’Or Foreurs VS Rimouski Oceanic
Chicoutimi Saugeneens VS Quebec Remparts
Victoriaville Tigres VS Blaineville-Boisbriand Armada
After the conclusion of the quarter-final round of the Maritime division, the winner will join the three Quebec-based semi-finalists and that will re-seed teams based on final standings during the regular season. The winners of the two semi-finals will play in the President’s Cup FInal in a best-of-seven series to determine the champion. All the remaining playoff games will be played in the Videotron Centre in Quebec City.
2021 QMJHL Draft Eligibles
With some teams already knocked out of the playoff rounds, their focus will begin to shift to the upcoming QMJHL Draft that will take place on June 25th-26th, 2021. Similar to last season the event will be held virtually with the first round taking place on June 25th and rounds 2-14 taking place on June 26th.
With the draft set to take place in under two months, let’s continue to check in on some of the highly touted prospects that will be looking to begin their Junior careers next season.
Preston Lounsbury – Center
The New Brunswick native is a center who plays a strong two-way game and can be an offensive threat while being a physical and tough player to play against. He put up 10 points in 16 games played with the Moncton Flyers U18 AAA team and also ten points in eight playoff games. The 16-year-old looks like he has the tools to begin to develop into a premier two-way forward at the Junior level.
Luke Coughlin – Left Defense
Sticking to the east coast of Canada Luke Coughlin is another prospect entering the QMJHL Draft this season playing with the Charlottetown Knights U18 AAA. He has contributed nine points through eight regular-season games and added six in four playoff games. He is a mobile blueliner who can put up points in a hurry. He is undersized despite having time to mature but could fit in well into a high-scoring league like the QMJHL that is known for producing more mobile offensive defensemen like Coughlin.
Kayson Un Yi – Center
The 15-year-old is very undersized coming in at 5-7 and 130lbs which is very small-framed even at his young age. Despite his size, The centerman knows how to put up points with 24 points through 33 games with the Culver Military Academy 16U team. He possesses a lot of upside with higher-end skill and creativity but will need to prove he can manage the physical aspect of the game. In an era where smaller players are getting more recognition, he could be a solid draft pick for a team although he may be more suitable as a winger unless he can add some size.
Zach Attack at the 2021 NHL Draft
The QMJHL does not have too many high-level prospects expected to be taken in the first round of the draft but could have an advantage considering that scouts were able to watch them play at some capacity this season. Some of the more prominent names hailing from the Quebec League are forwards and three names who could go in the early rounds are all named Zach.
Zach Dean – Center
The Alberta native has been able to maintain a similar scoring pace that he was on last year finishing this season with 20 points in 23 games. As a centerman, his vision is one of his strong suits and his ability to find the open man and make plays through tough spaces. His vision and crafty hands make him a great setup man to his teammates and have made strides defensively to round out his play in both the offensive and defensive zones.
Dean’s quickness allows him to turn the puck over and turn it into a scoring opportunity for either himself or his teammates in quick succession. The 18-year-old center has played well enough this year to earn him consideration in the late first to the early second round of the draft this season but will need some more time in junior before making the jump to the pro level.
Zachary L’Heureux – Left Wing
The offensive upside that the Halifax Moosehead forward has is what makes him so intriguing in the draft this year. He was able to carry a rather poor Halifax team in scoring with 39 points in 33 games played which was good enough for second on the team while playing five fewer games played than the team leader who had 49.
He is smaller framed listed at 5-11 but he plays the game with an edge. He is known for his scoring ability primarily with his lethal wrist shot but is also a good playmaker making him a tough assignment for any defender. There is a significant concern with L’Heureux’s discipline as he has been suspended four times this season. There is more to the game than simply putting up points which how an individual’s actions affect the team. He should still see his name be called sometime in the first round but his suspension history could make him fall lower than expected.
Zachary Bolduc – Center
In his second year with Rimouski Zachary Bolduc has operated at just over a point per game pace with 29 points in 27 games played. Unfortunately, he has battled injuries both at the beginning of the season and the end of the season which has limited his opportunity to showcase his game this season.
He was the QMJHL Rookie of the Year for the 2019-20 season with a strong rookie year which should help his case on draft day. At 6-1, he is a solid two-way center that should be able to rely on his strong defensive play to create turnovers and create offense. With the Oceanic making it into the quarter-playoff round there is hope that Bolduc could make a return depending on how deep into the playoffs the team can go which could give him a chance to boost his stock heading into the draft.
We will see if any more upsets will come out of the quarter-final round of the playoffs and see which QMJHL prospects entering the 2021 NHL Draft will be taken the highest and come with high hopes to become potential NHL stars.
Julian Mongillo – Los Angeles Kings and QMJHL writer.
Follow me on Twitter: @JulianMongillo