QMJHL Report – May 2019
President Cup Playoffs
The 2019 Memorial Cup entrants from the QMJHL have been locked in – the Memorial Cup host Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn Noranda Huskies will face off in the President Cup Final. As a result, the Huskies will get an automatic bid into the big tournament. After a first round that saw three of the eight series go to a seventh game, only one of the series’ in rounds two and three seen the sixth game. The Mooseheads come into the finals with a 12-4-1 record, after going seven games with Quebec, sweeping Moncton, and winning the series in six against Drummondville. The Huskies had an easier road through the playoffs, putting up a 12-2 record. Shawinigan surprisingly pushed them to a sixth game in the first round, but they have been rolling ever since with sweeps over Victoriaville and Rimouski.
To say that Raphaël Lavoie (2019) has been putting the team on his back would be a massive understatement. He leads the Mooseheads with 27 points in 17 games, which is 12 points better than the next best scorer on the team. Lavoie’s production in these playoffs is sure to boost his stock for the NHL entry draft. He currently ranks 20th among North American skaters for the draft, and if he continues this scoring pace into the Memorial Cup, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go even higher. He has shown an ability to rise to the occasion when the games matter most, which is something that won’t go overlooked at the team’s draft tables this June.
The Huskies are boasting a more balanced attack throughout the playoffs. Joël Teasdale leads the team through three rounds with 26 points in 14 games. Peter Abbandonato (undrafted) comes into the finals with 21 points in 10 games, while Noah Dobson (NYI) and Félix Bibeau (2019) are right behind him with 20 points in 14 games. They will hope to get Abbandonato back in the lineup, as he looks to return to play after missing the previous round due to a bout of mononucleosis. Goaltender Samuel Harvey (undrafted) has also been lights-out in the run, boasting a 13-2 record with a 1.69 GAA and .929 save %.
Canada had a good representation from the QMJHL in this tournament, with five players making the trip. Jonathan Lemieux (Val-d’Or), Jordan Spence (Moncton), Nathan Légaré (Baie Comeau), Jakob Pelletier (Moncton), and Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke) all donned the red and white. Unfortunately, it was a disappointing tournament for them both individually and as a team, losing to the United States in the bronze medal game. The QMJHL players struggled all tournament to generate any offense. Légaré was the best of the bunch with four points in seven games, Spence was second with three points, while Pelletier and Poulin only managed two points. Lemieux was unable to crack the lineup and failed to see any game action as he served as the third goaltender. They all head into June ranked by Central Scouting among North American skaters, Légaré is ranked #54, Spence at #59, Poulin at #22, and Pelletier at #27. Lemieux goes in ranked #20 among North American goalies.
Oliver Turan (Acadie Bathurst) and Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John) couldn’t stop Slovakia from being relegated. They went 0-4 in the round robin and lost to Switzerland in the relegation round to miss out on returning to next years’ tournament. Cajkovic had himself a good tournament despite the poor record, putting up seven points in seven games. Turan managed three assists in seven games but was a team-worst -10. Cajkovic is ranked #91 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, while Turan is ranked #172 for the 2019 Draft.
Marcel Barinka (Halifax) and Filip Prikryl (Saint John) were two of the top players on a Czech team that bowed out in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Barinka, who was a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs for the Mooseheads, was sent to the tournament to get back in game action. Barinka was second on the team with five points in five games, while Prikryl was fourth with three points in five games on a low-scoring Czech Republic team. Prikryl is currently ranked #198 among North American skaters, Barinka is eligible but unranked.
Yaroslav Likhachyov (Gatineau) was the lone QMJHL representative on a Russian team that lost to Sweden in the Gold Medal Game. Likhachyov had a disappointing tournament, only managing two points in six games. He sits at #166 in the rankings for North American skaters in this year’s draft.
See you next month when we recap how the Mooseheads and Huskies fared at the Memorial Cup!
Follow me on twitter @Roto_Nate for QMJHL and New York Islanders prospects.
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