Filip Zadina is off to a quick start with the Mooseheads
Last we left off, potential top-five pick Filip Zadina had already recorded eight points in his first five games of the season. He then proceeded to put up another 16 in the next 12 games played en route to earning QMJHL Rookie of the Month honours. Zadina followed that up with a hatty and an apple in his next contest, and sits at 30 points in 21 games.
Another top prospect slated to come off the board soon after the Czech sensation is Sea Dogs center, Joe Veleno. The former exceptional 15-year-old who now dawns the “C” for Saint John was once discussed as the potential first overall pick, but now is more likely to hear his name called around the 10th selection for at least a couple of reasons.
The emergence of other world-wide talent, and the fact that Veleno only just recorded his 30th goal since entering the QMJHL in September of 2015. While he was granted exceptional status, it was always his skating, hockey intelligence and hustle that separated him from the pack. Even with an impressive near point-per-game pace this season, he has only lit the lamp four times in 22 games.
Veleno was one of 23 players recently named to the Team QMJHL Super Series roster, which brings a healthy assortment of 1998 to 2000 born talent into the final leg of the competition.
The Q All-Stars will face-off against Team Russia in the on-going CHL Super Series in Charlottetown and Moncton (respectively).
The roster conveniently includes a hefty dose of QMJHL Maritime skaters, as 10 players named to the team currently represent teams in Atlantic Canada.
The biggest names on the official roster were Pierre-Luc Dubois and Samuel Girard; whose name were on that list until just a day ago. Of course, both are too busy making headlines across the National Hockey League to join their peers at the moment.
Victoriaville teammates Maxime Comtois and Pascal Laberge (Flyers 36th overall, 2016) should be heavy on the puck as they usually are. Comtois will be one to watch as his draft stock went from top-10 to 50th overall (Anaheim) this past June after he struggled to find his scoring touch for much of the 2016-17 campaign. The good news is Comtois is off to a much better start this time around, already scoring 10 goals and 16 points in his first 16 games.
Comtois's best pal and fellow 2017 Duck selection (60th), Antoine Morand will also be counted on to lead this team as a scoring line center and assistant captain.
Ottawa Senators 2017 fourth-rounder, Drake Batherson will also wear an “A”. Batherson had a strong rookie season with Cape Breton and currently leads the league in scoring with 17 goals and 34 points in an impressive sophomore campaign.
On the blue line, 2017 draftees, Pierre-Olivier Joseph (“A”), Jocktain Chainey and Zachary Lauzon should play some big minutes as they attempt to slow the speedy Russian attack. While a pair of talented 2018 NHL Draft eligibles will skate side-by-side as Jared McIsaac and Noah Dobson are both expected to be first-round picks.
Veterans, Evan Fitzpatrick (Sherbooke Phoenix) and Rafael Harvey (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) will tend the goals.
Game One of the QMJHL vs Russia goes Tuesday, November 14, and Game Two November 16. The series is currently tied at two after both leagues split their games.
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