QMJHL Report

by Nate Duffett on March 2, 2019

 

 

QMJHL Report

 

TOP 10 SCORERS

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

Joseph Veleno (DRU)

51

40

58

98

60

Alexis Lafrenière (RIM)

55

35

63

98

51

Peter Abbandanoto (ROU)

60

27

70

97

56

Ivan Chekhovich (BaC)

57

38

55

93

34

Jeremy Mckenna (MON)

60

41

46

87

12

Jimmy Huntington (RIM)

59

38

45

83

48

Samuel Asselin (HAL)

61

45

36

81

51

Nicolas Guay (DRU)

56

37

43

80

49

Jakob Pelletier (MON)

57

35

45

80

28

Gregor Macleod (DRU)

55

33

46

79

33

 

 

 

TEAMS TO WATCH:


Five teams are separating themselves from the pack in the race for the Presidents Cup with approximately 10 games remaining for each team in the Regular Season. These teams have no shortage of prospects who will be looking to make an impact under the bright lights of the QMJHL Playoffs and Memorial Cup.

 

 

  1. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (51-7-0-1)

 

Rouyn-Noranda has been on fire in 2019 with a stretch of 21 wins and their last loss coming on New Year’s Eve. Before the trade deadline the Huskies only had one player with NHL rights in Jakub Lauko (BOS), however two big acquisitions of Noah Dobson (NYI) with 28 points in 20 games and Joël Teasdale (MTL) with 33 points in 21 games have jumpstarted the team into this recent winning streak.

 

Rouyn currently has one player in top-10 scoring as Peter Abbandanato is sitting one point back of first place has been having the best season of his QMJHL career with 97 points in 60 games. From a fantasy owner standpoint, I would not get too excited about the prospect of Abbandanato. There have been numerous overage forwards in the past 10 years that have been among the league leaders in points but did not see a pro opportunity come their way. My initial feeling is that Abbandanato will first make his way to a Canadian University and possibly look for a minor-pro contract when his USports career is completed. However, he did attend NHL training camp with the St. Louis Blues for a short time this season so there could be some interest, whether or not he takes the opportunity remains to be seen. A trip to the Memorial Cup and a successful tournament from an individual perspective should increase his NHL stock significantly.

 

Right-winger Alex Beaucage’s name has been circulating as a prospect for the upcoming NHL entry draft. With 71 points in 60 games in his sophomore season, he projects to be a late second/early third round pick. His performance this season has greatly increased his draft stock. Look for his stock to increase even more if the Huskies can dominate the Presidents Cup playoffs, Beaucage will play a big part in it if they do.

 

 

 

  1. Drummondville Voltigeurs (46-10-2-1)

 


Rouyn is not the only team on a hot streak in the last quarter of the season. With an 11-0-1-1 record in their last 13 games, Rouyn is showing the league that they also deserve to be in the running for the Memorial Cup in May. The high-powered offence will prove to be an asset in the playoffs as they own three players in top-10 scoring. Joseph Veleno (DET) is tied for the QMJHL lead with 98 points in 51 games, finally scoring at a pace that made him worthy of Exceptional Status in his entry to the league. Joining him in the top-10 are Nicolas Guay and Gregor Macleod, both undrafted players who have shown an efficient scoring touch. Further bolstering their lineup is the return of Maxime Comtois (ANA) in late January as a shoulder injury sidelined him, after captaining Canada at the World Junior Championship over the Christmas holidays. He has put up 39 points in 19 games playing alongside Veleno. This dynamic duo is sure to be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. A trade deadline acquisition of Pierre-Olivier Joseph (ARI) has bolstered the teams backend, much like the acquisition of Dobson for Rouyn. A matchup of those two teams in the playoffs is sure to be a talent-filled showdown.

 

 

  1. Halifax Mooseheads (44-12-2-1)

 


As is tradition, Halifax has loaded up as the Memorial Cup hosts to hopefully win the historic trophy on home ice. Their first big acquisition of the offseason was Antoine Morand (ANA), who was an integral part of last season’s Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Morand has chipped in with 69 points in 58 games, good enough for third on the team in points. Just trailing behind Morand with 66 points is fellow Anaheim Ducks draft pick Benoit-Oliver Groulx, a former first overall pick by the Mooseheads.

 

Another Memorial Cup winner from Acadie is the team leader in points, Samuel Asselin who the Mooseheads acquired early in the season. He has been able to provide some more veteran leadership with a winning pedigree. Asselin is proving to be a smart pickup as he has picked up 81 points in 60 games. The final piece of their big four point-getters is 2019 draft prospect Raphaël Lavoie, with 71 points in 58 games, look to hear his name early at the NHL Entry Draft this June after showing out on the big stage of the Memorial Cup.

 

 

  1. Baie Comeau Drakkar (42-14-2-1)

 


San Jose draft pick Ivan Chekhovich leads the Drakkar with 93 points in 57 games, which is good for fourth in the league. After nine points in six games with San Jose’s AHL team last season, Chekhovich has come back to the league firing on all cylinders since September. Joining Chekhovich as the offensive forces of the team are Nathan Légaré and Gabriel Fortier (TB) both with 76 points in 60 games. Légaré has become a top prospect from the Q for the upcoming NHL draft as he looks to be a late first rounder. Look for his name in your keeper league drafts this season as he has 40+ goal upside with the potential to become a good playmaker as well.

 

The Drakkar’s biggest splashes during the trade deadline were acquiring two goaltenders. Alex D’Orio (PIT) and Déreck Baribeau (MIN), giving the team a rare goaltending tandem with two NHL properties. The first two months of this tandem has not lived up to the expectations, however, the emergence of another trade deadline acquisition, Lucas Fitzpatrick with a record of 6-0, 1.26 goals against average, and .938 save percentage has turned the team around. They will hope to get better play from the more experienced goalies D’Orio and Baribeau as they head into the playoffs, instead of relying on the sophomore goalie Fitzpatrick.


 

  1. Rimouski Oceanic (39-17-4-0)

 

 

Rounding out the top-five is one of the younger teams in the QMJHL. The most important youngster being Alex Lafrenière who currently is tied for the league lead in points with 98 points in 51 games. Lafrenière who will most likely go first overall in next years NHL entry draft has lit the league on fire in his second season and will be one of the talents that we talk about for years to come. On the other end of his Junior career is Jimmy Huntington who is currently sixth in league scoring with 83 points in 59 games. As an undrafted overage player, you probably won’t see Huntington in your fantasy leagues anytime soon. He will play a big part if Rimouski hopes to make a run in this year’s playoffs.


With Rimouski nine points clear of sixth-place Cape Breton, it would be a safe bet to say that one of the four teams will be joining the Halifax Mooseheads at the 101st Memorial Cup. The last time a team below the top-five in the QMJHL Regular Season standings went on to represent the league at the Memorial Cup was the 2002-2003 Hull Olympiques after finishing ninth.

 

 

Sleeper Team:

 


Moncton Wildcats (33-20-3-4)


If there was one team that I would say could be a repeat of that Hull team is the Wildcats. This team has tons of offensive firepower as evidenced by two of their players being in the top-10 of scoring. Jeremy Mckenna with 87 points in 60 games and Jakob Pelletier with 80 points in 57 games lead the Wildcats attack. Mckenna went undrafted but has put up some significant point totals in the last two years and could garner some interest from NHL clubs. Jakob Pelletier will get some interest from NHL clubs after the Wildcats season is completed. He is projected to go somewhere in the late first round/early second round of this year’s entry draft.

 

If a player was coming from the Q in this year’s draft class that I would have some interest in from a fantasy perspective it would be Pelletier. He could put up points in any situation, and in a league where the undersized players are starting to thrive instead of being cast aside, there could be some serious point totals coming from this guy once he gets to the pros. For the Wildcats to join their Atlantic Canadian rivals at the Memorial Cup they will need to greatly improve their defence and goaltending before the playoff run. The Wildcats hope that their hiring of new Head Coach John Torchetti in January will help improve their defensive flaws and lead this team to a deep playoff run.


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See you again in a few weeks when we dive into the QMJHL playoff picture!

Follow me on twitter @Roto_Nate for QMJHL and New York Islanders prospects coverage.

Nate Duffett