Thu. Apr 22nd, 2021

By Loïc Rainville

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  • A grade: 1st round
  • B grade: 2nd/3rd round
  • C grade: 4th/5th round

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Top 10 Best Prospects

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1 – Zachary Bolduc: C / 6’1 / 175lbs – Rimouski Océanic

Bolduc’s season is unfortunately over due to a lower-body injury that occurred last week. It was a pretty unlucky year for him; a shoulder injury, an appendectomy and now, he won’t be able to play in the playoffs. Despite all that, he still was able to put 10 goals and 19 assists in 27 games, and to prove his worth as the top prospect of the league. Bolduc is a complete forward who likes to shoot. Small remarks on entering the neutral zone with speed more often and giving better support. 

Grade: A | Viewings this season: 15

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2 – Evan Nause: LD / 6’2 / 186lbs – Québec Remparts 

Good puck moving defenseman with a constant dedication and intensity. Strong footwork and gap control. His decision making and his defensive positioning kept improving as the season went. I expect a terrific and dominant playoff run from Nause; he has all the skills, physicality and drive to lead the Remparts.

Grade: A | Viewings: 15

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3 – Manix Landry: C / 5’11 / 178lbs – Gatineau Olympiques 

Productive month for Manix Landry; 12 points in 8 games. It’s nice to see him score lately after a pretty dry first-half of the season. He simply works hard and plays smart, not a whole lot to add. The best skater from this QMJHL draft class and he wears a “C”. Could really benefit from some additional strength since he’s easily pushed.

Grade: B | Viewings: 18

Manix Landry and Mikaël Diotte. (File photo, Ghyslain Bergeron / LHJMQ)

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4 – Zach Dean: C / 6’0 / 176lbs – Gatineau Olympiques

I had Dean tied with his teammate for a good part of the season, but now I’m confident with putting Landry ahead of him. Dean is a skilled forward with a good offensive vision. I found that his skating and his commitment was a bit concerning in 2020, but both rightfully improved throughout the season. However, he still struggles defensively and he can be caught being quite selfish with the puck. 

Grade: B | Viewings: 15

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5 – Oscar Plandowski: RD / 6’0 / 190lbs – Charlottetown Islanders

Nothing negative at all to say about his defensive game, he loves to pinch and jump on the attack. Plandowski doesn’t produce much this season while his pairing (William Trudeau) scores at a surprising pace; which is a bit worrying too. His offensive potential doesn’t seem as promising as Nause’s or Whynot’s, however, he skates well and he is really solid off the puck. 

Grade: B | Viewings: 16

(#7) Oscar Plandowski (File photo courtesy of charlottetownislanders.com)

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6. – Xavier Bourgault: RW / 6’0 / 172lbs – Shawinigan Cataractes

A player which I struggle to truly appreciate; he’s an excellent passer, he can easily pick corners and he knows where to place himself in all three zones. Yet, his drive and competitiveness are so wildly inconsistent. He often stops moving his feet, goes softly for a puck retrieval or doesn’t care much about defense. However, when he decides to play, he’s on Dean’s level and he really catches the eye.

Grade: B | Viewings: 18

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7 – Cameron Whynot: LD / 6’1 / 180lbs – Halifax Mooseheads

Offensive defenseman who possesses great chemistry with Justin Barron. He easily beats the pressure, distributes the puck really well and can turn on a dime. Whynot is getting more and more physical and committed defensively as the season progresses. 

Grade: B | Viewings: 16

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8 – Olivier Nadeau: RW / 6’2 / 204lbs – Shawinigan Cataractes 

Power forward / two-way player who can produce offensively. His production is probably inflated due to the fact that he’s playing with Mavrik Bourque and Xavier Bourgault, yet his playmaking ability still remains legit. Main flaw remains the skating.  

Grade: C | Viewings: 15

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9 – Tyson Hinds: LD / 6’3 / 178lbs – Rimouski Océanic 

More of a reliable stay-at-home defenseman type; he doesn’t hold back finishing checks and is always solid on the penalty kill. Hinds is mobile enough, but the concern is about his puck skills; a lot of dumps on the glass and he keeps his passes rather simple. 

Grade: C | Viewings: 13

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10 – Riley Kidney: C / 5’11 / 179lbs – Acadie-Bathurst

Clearly the most underrated playmaker among the draft eligible from the Q. Vision is top and he always finds a lane to give the puck. Strong two-way game, his intensity is sufficient and possesses a sneaky good wrister too. Though, his skating techniques will need some refinement.

Grade: C | Viewings: 10

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Other primary 2021 eligible prospects: 

Cole Huckins & Riley Kidney (Acadie-Bathurst) – Connor Trenholm (Cape-Breton) – William Trudeau (Charlottetown) – Isaac Belliveau & Alexei Prokopenko (Gatineau) – Zachary L’Heureux & Robert Orr (Halifax) – Viljami Marjala & James Malatesta (Québec) – Peter Reynolds & Cameron MacDonald (Saint John) – Anthony Bédard (Shawinigan) – Joshua Roy & Israel Mianscum (Sherbrooke) – Justin Robidas (Val-d’Or) – Maxime Pellerin (Victoriaville) 

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Recap

Honorable mentions: Lorenzo Canonica (Shawinigan) – Zachary L’Heureux (Halifax) – William Trudeau (Charlottetown) – Jacob Melanson (Acadie-Bathurst) – Connor Trenholm (Cape-Breton).

Québec divisions will begin their playoff run in April and it will be the perfect occasion to expand this list to a top-15.

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