Welcome to May’s edition of the QMJHL Update on DobberProspects! The QMJHL Finals are underway with a pair of blowout wins, as the Halifax Mooseheads came back to win 6-3 on Saturday night after the Remparts took a brief series lead on Friday night.
Alex Doucet led the way for Halifax with four points as Josh Lawrence and Zachary L’Heureux had three points apiece, while the Remparts were led by their big guns with a three point performance in game one from Theo Rochette and three goals in two contests for Justin Robidas.
Much was made heading into the finals to potentially become a low-scoring series with both goalies becoming the backbones of their team’s chances to take home the Gilles-Courteau Trophy and to punch their tickets to the Memorial Cup in Kamloops later this month.
Both Mathis Rousseau and William Rousseau have taken turns getting the short end of a loss with five goals against, but we will see if that trend persists heading back to Atlantic Canada for game three on Tuesday night.
Given this is the end of the road for the QMJHL playoffs, there is no better time to dive in on the top playoff performers from this year’s postseason. I take a look at the top producers at each position.. As the months go on, I will dive more into the honourable mentions to share my thoughts on the implications these performances have on their NHL futures.
For now, though, I give my thoughts on the main players leading the league in scoring these playoffs along with a few potential diamonds in the rough for your fantasy teams. Without further adieu, let’s dive into the clutch performers of the league!.
Josh Lawrence, C, Halifax Mooseheads
Since Halifax acquired Lawrence in November for a bundle of draft picks, he has been everything the team has hoped for as someone to bring this team to the next level.
He has built on his 100-point season last year with the Memorial Cup winning Saint John Sea Dogs to a whopping 115-point season and 28 points in 17 playoff games for the Mooseheads thus far. Not only has he become a behemoth offensively for this team, but he has shown to show his defensive awareness in closing gaps effectively and winning 58 percent of his faceoffs, with the most draws won in the playoffs with 241. The next closest in that category is Nathan Gaucher with 161.
Lawrence will become a free agent at the end of this season and will be eligible to sign anywhere, whether it be in the NHL or Europe. For fantasy poolies, he could become a player of interest in the right organization and could find his way to becoming an effective bottom-six player with multi-category upside. Something to monitor in the coming months.
Alexandre Doucet, LW, Halifax Mooseheads
Another deadline acquisition nailed on the head was Alex Doucet. Already boasting the league’s deadliest playmaker in Jordan Dumais, why not pair its leading goal scorer to add yet another dimension to the offense? That’s exactly what they did.
Finishing the season with 57-goals and greater than 100 points, Doucet has put up 26 points in 17 games in the playoffs along with two game winning goals. Earlier in April, Doucet inked an entry-level deal with the Detroit Red Wings and looks poised to make the jump to the professional ranks. He continues to showcase his incredible release and elite finishing ability around the net and from distance which could give him opportunities to excel in Grand Rapids next season. While players from the Q can be an unknown commodity until they begin logging minutes in the professional game, Doucet is worth a flier for those looking to mine value in deeper dynasty and keeper league formats. He has all the tools to excel as an offensive threat. But time will tell if he can put it together to become an effective NHL player.
Alexis Gendron, RW, Gatineau Olympiques
Gendron’s spectacular playoffs came to an end with the Quebec Remparts sweeping the Olympiques in round three, but his 14 goals in 13 games played top the league in goals-per-game in the playoffs. While much of the focus had been the other pieces such as Riley Kidney and Zachary Dean in Gatineau, Gendron was a critical add at the deadline from the Blaineville Boisbriand Armada for this historic Olympiques squad, who posted a 21-game winning streak heading into the playoffs.
During the regular season, Gendron posted 55 goals in 63 games, topping his total of 30 goals in 66 games from 2021-22.
Gendron was a 2022 seventh round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers as a 19-year-old and is slated to be a project for the organization as it looks to mine prospect value within its own system. Gendron relies on his ability to create space with speed and agility. He could stand to bulk up from his 5-10, 174-pound frame, but if he can improve his quick release and overall ability to create room, the Flyers could have a legitimate prospect in their organization.
Etienne Morin, LD, Moncton Wildcats
Morin has been a steady figure throughout the season to become one of the top ranked prospects from the league for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft in Nashville this June.
At just 17 years old, Morin has earned a reputation as a hard worker on the back end and has quarterbacked Moncton’s top power play this season. His skating and work ethic blend well with his vision to commit to that first pass out of his own end, adding a great transition game to his ability, something NHL teams are always looking to improve on. In the playoffs, he posted 17 points in 12 games, and was a large part in Moncton’s first-round barnburner against the Baie Comeau Drakkar.
He is still a few years off from being an NHL player and definitely years from becoming an impactful force, but at his ceiling, Morin could become a second-pairing defender with the ability to run a team’s second powerplay unit, and even the top unit in a pinch. He is someone poolies should monitor come draft day and one who could deliver in points-only formats in the future, but has demonstrated his ability to become a strong multi-category producer in leagues with such value.
P.S. He was also a player I noted as having potential for a sizable contribution in these playoffs!
Tristan Luneau, RD, Gatineau Olympiques
The QMJHL’s defenceman of the year was leaned upon to play massive minutes for Gatineau following the injury to Noah Warren earlier in the year. He put up 83 points in the regular season and followed it up with a performance in the playoffs with 17 points in 13 games played.
The Anaheim Ducks second-round selection from 2022 is showing that he can be an effective two-way player who can process the game faster than most players his age. He is an intelligent player with strong gap control. He can also be effective on the powerplay, which carries significant value in the fantasy hockey sphere.
All signs point towards Luneau becoming an NHL player within the next few seasons, If he can realize his potential, he could be a good option for powerplay production and multi-category leagues, but with a bevy of defensive prospects in Anaheim, he will have to play his way into the conversation, as the likes of Pavel Mintyukov, Olen Zellweger and Jamie Drysdale could pose a concern for his fantasy value moving forward.
Francesco Lapenna, G, Gatineau Olympiques
Lapenna brought considerable stability to the crease in Gatineau and was the backbone for a team that could score at will, which made his job considerably easier. He had an incredible regular season with a 0.926 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against-average with a 20-2-2 record and somehow topped that in the playoffs with a 1.81 goals against average and a 0.940 save percentage.
Lapenna committed to the University of Ottawa for the fall of 2023 after going undrafted the past few years. His case is certainly one to monitor considering players in recent seasons have found their way to the NHL through the USports path, most notably Logan Thompson of the Vegas Golden Knights. If he can carry his momentum from this season to Ottawa, he could become the next Thompson to find his way to the North American professional ranks. Why not him too?
Joshua Roy, C/W, Sherbrooke Phoenix
Zachary Dean, C, Gatineau Olympiques
Zachary L’Heureux, C, Halifax Mooseheads
Justin Robidas, C, Quebec Remparts
Riley Kidney, LW, Gatineau Olympiques
William Rousseau, G, Quebec Remparts
Mathis Rousseau, G, Halifax Mooseheads
Thanks for reading this month’s edition of the QMJHL update on DobberProspects. Feel free to interact with me on Twitter @seany_hockey in my mentions or direct messages! I’m always down to discuss all things QMJHL and fantasy hockey!
Enjoy the rest of the finals and the Memorial Cup!