The Q typically produces between 20 – 25 NHL draft players a season. Here’s a list of the top first year QMJHL forwards.
|Pierre-Luc Dubois (LW)||Cape Breton||1.596774||6/24/1998||6’3|
|Julien Gauthier (RW)||Val-D’or||1.055556||10/15/1997||6’4|
|Pascal Laberge (C/RW)||Victoriaville||1.214286||4/9/1998||6’1|
|Vitali Abramov (LW/RW)||Gatineau||1.47619||5/8/1998||5’9|
|Vladimir Kuznetsov (LW/RW)||Acadie-Bathurst||0.852941||2/18/1998||6’1|
|Otto Somppi (C)||Halifax||0.779661||1/12/1998||6’1|
|Brandon Gignac (C)||Shawinigan||0.910448||11/7/1997||5’11|
|Maxime Fortier (RW/C)||Halifax||1.132353||12/15/1997||5’10|
|Matthew Boucher (LW)||Quebec||1.016949||12/17/1997||5’8|
Pierre-Luc Dubois (Top 10 Pick)
- Elite Prospects: A dexterous and driven competitor that has all the makings of a dynamic two-way winger. Not the most electric skater, but is shifty and plays to the extent of his physical capabilities; he knows his limits and plays within them, which facilitates a student-like approach to the growth of his game. Possesses high hockey-IQ and is consistent in his efforts. Not the most physical player, but is when he needs to be. All-in-all, Dubois is an invaluable all-around player who plays in all situations and exceeds expectations when the opportunity arises. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
- Craig Button: Dubois has the ability to play a multi-faceted game balancing all of the essential elements, and is equally adept finishing a play or setting one up. There is so much in his game that reminds me of Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn, including the versatility to play centre.
Pascal Laberge (C/RW) – (20 – 50)
- Elite Propsect: Pascal Laberge is a tough and spirited two-way forward with a high level of hockey sense. Hunts for turnovers and causes havoc whenever he is on the ice. Uses his size well to shield the puck, exert physical force, and win board battles. Has a good set of goal-scorer’s hands, but tends to use them more to pass than anything. All-in-all, an efficient, yet exciting, two-way forward with potential to develop into a playmaking goal scorer. (Curtis Joe, EP 2014)
Vitali Abramov (LW/RW) – (20 – 50)
- Dobber Prospects: While Abramov is small by pro standards, his high-end skill set and skating ability will allow him to be an effective player at higher levels.
- Future Considerations: The Russian import is a constant threat offensively and makes some impressive plays due to his high skill level. An explosive, well-timed speed burst or change of pace and shifty agility in his feet as well as creative hands make him a slippery forward to check. A skilled playmaker making seeing-eye passes through the tightest of lanes and in perfect time to his teammates. Will shoot the puck when the opportunity presents itself and usually hits his mark when he does but is a natural playmaker first and foremost. Extremely dynamic top line NHL potential.
Julien Gauthier (RW) – (20-50)
- Elite Prospects: An explosive power forward who boasts an elite-level skill package. Takes nothing for granted and plays with hard-nosed work ethic. Tremendous vision and outstanding hockey sense; thrives under pressure and doesn’t stray from the high-percentage play. Willingness to play physical and win battles in his own end makes him a vital asset, stepping up at the game’s key moments. Exceptional skating ability allows him to stay with, if not ahead, of each unfolding play. Refined puckhandling skills allow him to maintain puck control at breakneck speeds. All-in-all, a prolific scorer whose attitude and innate abilities will constantly propel him into dominance. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
Julien Gauthier has drawn well-deserved comparisons to current NHLer Rick Nash. He has an imposing frame, dazzling puck skills, and the drive to win. Learns from his past mistakes and implements new strategies to counteract them. [EliteProspects 2016]
- Gauthier is a goal scorer (.79 Goals/G) and is a decent skater. “He’s a good team player. When a person is in the right position, he moves the puck to them. He sees the ice well and works hard off the ice,” says the NHL scout.
Vladimir Kuznetsov (LW/RW) – (50-75)
- Sportsnet’s Damien Cox had this Kuznetsov rated as a first round prospect earlier in the year. The offense is a little shy for a first round pick. He’s a big player, has good offensive instincts, and responsible defensively. Death, Taxes & Jagr blog had a great scouting report on him, but mentions skating as an area of improvement.
Maxime Fortier (RW/C) – (75 – 100)
- Hockey Now.ca: Lightning quick speedster is always playing at top speed and it’s difficult to slow him down. Shoots the puck a lot and is finding success following his shots up and going to the net. Not a very tall kid, has a good balance on his skates and can turn on a dime and leave defenders in the dust. Has a good release and skates the puck down the wing real well. Would like to see him play better away from the puck as he does get caught standing still too often.
- Fortier was in on 39.9% of his teams goals this past year. To put that in perspective that’s the same number that Abramov (missed 5 games pro-rated for 68 games) factored into with the higher scoring Gatineau. He has been described as a smaller skilled, crafty scorer and smooth skater. Most teams have him as a 5th round pick or later.
Brandon Gignac (C) – (100 – 150)
- Redline Report: We’ve been impressed with his progression. Slick playmaker has a knack for finding open ice and open teammates. Not flashy, but has good hockey sense.
- Gignac was impressive when teammate Anthony Beauvillier left for the World Juniors, when he posted 14 points in 8 games. He isn’t an overly big player and is a late birthday (Nov 97), but is a two-way player.
Otto Somppi (C) – (100 – 150)
- Hockey Now: A very high-tempo offensive threat who will create turnovers with his aggressive forecheck and turn them into legit scoring opportunities. Head always on a swivel looking for the best play to set up. Good hands around the net with a quick release. Quick in pursuit of the puck and is not afraid to backcheck and take care in his own end. At times, he may try to do too much himself.
- Somppi has good size and plays a solid two-way game but he is being projected as a late 2nd – 3rd round pick. I would have liked to have seen more offense from him this year and based on his stats I would anticipate a 3rd line player is the high end projection.
Matthew Boucher (C-LW) – (150-200)
- Boucher wasn’t on the NHL Central Scouting list, but he’s a first year draft eligible forward who averaged over a point per game. He’s a hard working player, plays PK & PP with a nice shot and is willing to play a physical game (93 PIMS), the major knock on him is his size. Boucher could be a solid late round pick.
To get a look at comparisons I took a look at top 40 selections out of the QMJHL between 2007 and 2013. Please note; I excluded Crosby, Ehlers & Drouin – as there are no players within this draft that are similar comps.
The next tier of players I had listed, were players drafted outside 49+
There are five additional overagers that might be worth a late round (150 – 200) selection.
|Alex Dostie (C)||1.351852||4/23/1997||5’10|
|Alexis D’Aoust (RW)||1.441176||4/3/1996||6′|
|Cameron Askew (C)||0.984848||5/13/1997||6’4|
|Nathan Noel (C)||0.934426||6/21/1997||6′|
Overagers should be able to bring good to elite offense in the major junior level or have an additional skill set. Recent overage QMJHL picks; Mike Hoffman (1.51), Ondrej Palat (1.57), Sven Andrighetto (1.85) & Tye McGinn (1.24) all brought above a point per game.
- The Sports Daily: Very good production for a rookie in the QMJHL. Was a top six player for the Voltigeurs, playing the point on the power play. He’s a good puck rusher who shows good creativity and vision. He is an above average skater who likes to have the puck on his stick.
- QMJHL – He’s a player who brings speed and skill. Everyone thinks he’s small, but he isn’t really that small. He’s now up to 5-foot-10. He uses his speed to get to the net and get onto loose pucks. The day he will gain complete confidence in his abilities, he will become a real difference-maker on the ice.”
- I know, D’Aoust played on a line with Anthony Beauvillier which likely helped out his offensive numbers. He finished 4th in both goals (44) and points (98), he’s not near Connor Garland’s numbers from last year but he should be worth a late round selection.
- ESPN: He’s really big, with good, soft hands. Since he’s gone to the ‘Q’, I can’t say the numbers have been great, but he moves pretty well for a big man. He’s kind of a dark horse to me, I think somebody might take him late. My question is just his skating, the way the game is today, you have to be able to bring it
- Elite Prospects: A hard-working offensive forward that seems to compliment his linemates, whoever they may be. Good hockey sense and creativity in the offensive end. Very good puck possession skills; good hands to stay slippery, and a non-stopping motor that bodes nicely with his skating agility. Keen awareness on the ice lets him slip into good scoring positions where he can either pass the puck or tap home a goal. All-in-all, a guy who has a high level of skill and can be relied upon in situations where you need to strike quickly or run down the clock with a lead. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)