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Prospect Talk : The QMJHL

November 10, 2013, 4:19 PM ET [24 Comments]
Adam French
Last draft was probably the best draft the QMJHL has ever had. It was packed full of top picks and more importantly it was extremely deep in most positions. The top crust of talent included.

1. Nathan MacKinnon
3. Jonathan Drouin
11. Samuel Morin
20. Anthony Mantha
21. Frédérik Gauthier
22. Émile Poirier
33. Adam Erne
36. Zachary Fucale
37. Valentin Zykov

Usually the Q produces a few top-end talents and then it pitters out. 2013 saw 15 go in the first two rounds. Compare that to 2012 in which only 5 went in those same rounds. Major improvement. This season sadly is looking like a more typical year from the QMJHL. There are a few top talents, mostly of foreign origin, but not a whole lot of talent. 2015 on the other hand is looking a bit better, though that is still a long ways away.

You’ll note the lack of the QMJHL’s expected top prospect in the draft Ivan Barbashev. This is because I included him in my Russian Draft eligible list. He’s expected to also be the top Russian available and is an electric talent. Expect him in the 10-30 range…30 because the Russian factor always plays a role even if the guy has made the commitment to play in the CHL. Links here and here here to Sweden, Russia and the OHL.


Alexis Vanier - The 6'5 defender has been one of the biggest surprises this season. He has 21 points in 23 games for Baie-Comeau and has evolved his game by leaps and bounds. He has 9 goals...9, already up from 0 in his rookie season. He plays a big and mean style and throws some major hits. He's already got pro size and sits at 224lbs. He's 4th in scoring for defensemen and second in goals. He's got a blast from the point and a lot of poise. The only area he needs to improve is his speed, he's susceptible to being beat on the outside by speedsters. Like Samuel Morin he's ranked in the 2nd round right now, but expect him to be a big riser.

Nikolaj Ehlers – The Danish born winger has found a home in Halifax lighting up the Q beside Drouin. Ehlers leads all rookies in scoring with 12 goals and 30 points in 24 games which is good for sixth overall in the scoring race. He’s an explosive skater with game breaking speed and an excellent wrist shot. He scores a lot of goals off the rush and loves to cut into the middle of the ice and go into the danger zones. The 17 year old Dane played his junior hockey before the move to Nova Scotia in Switzerland where he played in their professional league over in Biel and had a coming out party in the playoffs. He’s a pretty good puck handler and needs to be with his speed. Like a lot of wingers he needs some work on his play without the puck. Expect him to go in the late first round…or higher depending on how much Drouin helps pad his stats.

Daniel Audette – The 1st overall selection in the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft has the distinction to play for one of the worst teams in the CHL, the Sherbrooke Phoenix. While not as impressive as a rookie last season, he’s showing why he was chosen so high this season. The son of former NHLer Donald Audette, he plays a lot like his dad. At 5’8 he’s extremely small and is more of a playmaker than a finisher. He leads the Phoenix with 6 goals and 28 points in 22 games and is 11th overall in scoring. While a centre now, at that size…well he’s likely headed for the wing if he ever makes it to the NHL. While his offensive upside is desirable, with his size, expect him in the 2nd round or even the third…look at where Nic Petan who led the entire CHL in points last season go (43rd).

Alexis Pépin – The rangy power forward was expected to be one of the top picks from the QMJHL, but he hasn’t had a strong start to the season offensively. With only 3 goals and 9 points in his first 22 games, he is on pace to match his rookie totals from last season…not good. However he is a versatile winger that plays all three forward positions that loves to throw his weight around. Defensively he’s strong which is what got him on the Canadian Ivan Hlinka squad. At 6’2 238lbs…yes 238, he really crushes players. He is worth the gamble in the 2nd round because even if he doesn’t find his offensive game he’s strong enough in the other areas that he could be a role player.

Francis Perron – The 5’11 extremely skinny left winger is a bit of a darkhorse pick and could potentially be a steal. He’s a very accomplished defensive centre and already has 2 shorthanded goals for the Huskies. He’s second on his team with 8 goals and 24 points in 21 games. Could be a quality mid round pick.

Mason McDonald – The top ranking goalie in the QMJHL and expected to be the second highest picked in 2014 as of now. He’s a big butterfly goalie and stands at 6’3. Very mobile and extremely athletic. The major concerns are that he doesn’t have the best rebound control and likes to push pucks away from him and play a “block style” instead of a “catch style.” While he is only the backup for Acadie-Bathurst right now, he has played as well as Jacob Brennan the starter. He has a .901sv% and a 3.37GAA which is pretty decent for a 17 year old in the Q. Expected in the second round.


Daniel Sprong – Born in the Netherlands but still Canadian, Sprong is expected to be a top-10 pick in 2015. At 16 he is already second in rookie scoring with 11 goals and 23 points in 22 games. He’s a terrific skater with a ton of offensive prowess. He’s a bit on the small side at 5’10, but he still has room to grow. He also holds the record for most points in Midget Espoir.

Jérémy Roy – A contender for the top pick in 2015, Roy is one of the top defenders going into that draft. QMAAA Best Hockey Student, QMAAA First All-Star Team, QMAAA Most Assist (42), QMAAA Most Points by Defenseman (54), QMAAA Top Defenseman, QMJHL Gold Cup Silver Medal are just the highlights of his accomplishments thus far. He’s having a fantastic rookie season for Sherbrooke with 5 goals and 15 points already. The 5’11 defender is expected to be a two-way defender in the NHL with a bit of a lean towards the offensive zone…think a Dan Boyle kind of guy.

Nicolas Roy – The first overall selection in the 2013 QMJHL Draft, Roy is a big power forward with amazing hands and bursting speed. At 6’3 he’s got a lot of power and loves to play around the net. Like a lot of big talented centres it’s the speed that sets him apart and his soft hands. He’s having a good rookie season for Chicoutimi posting 3 goals and 14 points in 23 games. He needs to work on his face-offs and man to man coverage. He’s expected to go in the first round.

Alexandre Carrier – Another mobile two-way defender. Carrier is a tad undersized like Roy and stands only 5’11. He’s very fast and closes gaps really well. The 17 year old is one of the older players available in 2015 and already has a QMJHL season under his belt. He’s considered a leader and a very mature player; he already has an “A” with Gatineau. He has a goal and 9 points and leads his team at +13. He plays all situations and is expected to be a late first rounder.

Anthony Beauvillier – Undersized and ultra-talented. At 5’9 Beauvillier is a bit of a smurf, yet nobody can doubt his offensive talent. He was the QMAAA MVP leading the league in points which got him drafted 2nd overall. He plays on the worst team in the CHL the Shawinigan Cataractes. In 21 games he has only 5 points, but the surprising thing is that he is excellent on the draw despite his age and size. His two-way game is solid and if he was bigger there wouldn’t be so many questions. Anywhere from the 15-60, that’s the size talking sadly. Could be a good one.

Nicolas Meloche - Big defender at 6'2 brings it all. He's a mean punishing defender who has a lot of offensive flair. He already has 17 points in his first 20 games and has been a lethal PP option. He's also one of the younger players in 2015 being born in mid-July. Still makes some brain farts in his own zone, but the talent and playstyle he brings are so valuable. He's already 10th in scoring by defensemen. He isn't getting a lot of early hype, but if he continues to play like this he'll be a top-5 pick in no time.

Thanks for reading. WHL next.
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