Sat. May 8th, 2021

By Loïc Rainville

The season is now officially over in the Eastern Canadian league. Big congratulations to everyone who worked to get the league going, a massive accomplishment during this pandemic period. 

This month’s list is being released right before the postseason’s beginning. Even if the players’ order start to get stabilized, playoff performances will finalize draft stocks for the future rankings. 

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  • A grade: 1st round
  • B grade: 2nd/3rd round
  • C grade: 4th/5th round
  • D grade: 6th/7th round

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Top 15 Best Prospects

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

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see Bolduc compete with Rimouski due to an injury. Nothing really changed since October: he’s still the best prospect of the league, he looks better down the middle than off the wing and he’ll probably get drafted in the 15-20 range. 

Grade: A | Viewings this season: 17

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

Gifted skater, plays intelligently and his motor is just endless. Underrated passer and shooter, always goes hard on the puck and you easily see that he has fire in his eyes. Manix Landry finally made the jump from a “B” grade to an “A” grade (1st round candidate) this month. Absolutely nothing negative to say about this player.

Grade: B | Viewings: 22

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

In full confidence with the puck on his stick, Nause demonstrates he has a strong flair offensively. Great acceleration, lateral mobility and balance too. He shows good intensity, but he could also benefit for a bit more poise in his game. Sometimes hypnotized by the puck in coverage situations and too eager to leave his zone.

Grade: A | Viewings: 17

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

Skilled player out there; his hands are seriously close to elite. His skating is decent and he shows a legit intensity level. Dean loves to hold on the puck, he even loves it way too much. He’s a good playmaker, though he wastes many opportunities just because he tries too much individually. Relies too much on his stick handling and I don’t really see him translate as a center. The talent is obviously there, but a lot to be refined yet. 

Grade: B | Viewings: 18

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

Full-on aggressive defenseman; can crush opponents off the rush and doesn’t give up an inch. Keeps his game rather simple; always makes a good first pass and never tries to deke forecheckers. Plandowski loves to pinch, quite a lot. Strong slap shot and likes to help his forwards when an opportunity presents itself. He’s also the best defenseman when it comes to defending on that list.

Grade: B | Viewings: 19

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

Similar to Zach Dean, Bourgault is a skilled forward, but in his case, hockey IQ is his main attribute. Despite having a 20 goal season (in 29 games), I see Bourgault as a playmaker primarily. He’s a good shooter, but it probably helped to play with Bourque and Nadeau. Skating is fine, same for his defensive game. The problem is his consistency and effort. I’ve seen a bit above 20 games this season so far, yet he didn’t often prove himself to be a top player. I know he can, so his playoff performance will be critical for me.

Grade: B | Viewings: 21

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

Earlier, I labeled him as an offensive defenseman. By now, I believe he suits more as a two-way. He has good puck-moving skill, but his game doesn’t centralize around it. He has gotten more committed defensively and meaner along the wall throughout the year. No playoffs for Halifax unfortunately.

Grade: B | Viewings: 17

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

Really smart on the ice, excellent passer, capable two-way center, good competes, kind of magical hands: Kidney is a truly impressive player. He’d be much higher than 8th if it wasn’t for the combo average skater and light frame… 

Grade: C | Viewings: 14

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

A bit of a disappointing end of the season, lacked his usual energy in the Victoriaville safe environment. Versatile forward, passing-first player and go-to guy on the penalty kill with Ponomarev. Knows his place in front of the net and he’s surprisingly a decent puck handler. Though, he’s just an ordinary skater. 

Grade: C | Viewings: 18

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

Big and mean defensive defenseman. Quite fast, but his footwork isn’t ideal. Hinds is still growing into his offensive game; his trade to Rimouski clearly helped him with his confidence and freedom. Plays like 3rd pairing/7th D. 

Grade: C | Viewings: 16

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11 – Drew Elliot: LW / 5’10 / 181lbs – Charlottetown Islanders

Relentless 5’10 speedy winger. He doesn’t mind getting physically involved and he can play on the penalty kill. Only 14pts in 40 games, but not to forget that Charlottetown has an extremely deep roster, so he didn’t necessarily get a tone of ice time. Kind of a better version of James Malatesta. 

Grade: C | Viewings: 12

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12 – Jacob Melanson: RW / 5’11 / 200lbs – Acadie-Bathurst Titan

Melanson was traded from Québec after he requested it, and he missed the first half of the year due to an injury. Always looking to finish his hits and he possesses a decent hockey sense. Quite fast, but he skates with a high stance and with small jumping steps. 

Grade: D | Viewings: 6

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13 – William Trudeau: LD / 6’0 / 189lbs – Charlottetown Islanders

Not incredibly skilled, but his poised, confidence and vision set him as an attractive offensive defenseman. However, standart defensive game and ordinary skating.

Grade: D | Viewings: 12

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14 – Lorenzo Canonica: C / 5’11 / 179lbs – Shawinigan Cataractes

One of the rare export players this season. Constant grinding, good pair of hands, strong awareness and he seems to take pride in defending. Not a big fan of his skating and offensive game. 

Grade: D | Viewings: 12

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15 – Connor Trenholm: C / 6’1 / 191lbs – Cape Breton Eagles

Committed to his role of a two-way center. Skating seems to lack power. Already wears an “A”. I like his positioning and the support he brings. 

Grade: D | Viewings: 5

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Honorable mentions:

Cole Huckins (Acadie-Bathrust) / Zach Biggar (Acadie-Bathurst) / Justin Robidas (Val-d’Or) 

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Recap

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To comment please do so via Twitter @rainvlo2 or @theOilKnight