Scouting the QMJHL – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Category: Scouting the QMJHL

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The 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup is now in the books and the Russians backstopped by the 17 yr old phenom Yaroslav Askarov, are the tournament Champions after defeating Team Canada 3-2 in the finals. It is their first victory in this tournament since 1995. 

#1 Yaroslav Askarov of Russia, courtesy of tsn.ca

It was a short but exciting tournament that gave many draft enthusiasts an opportunity to see how far a lot of these kids have progressed over the summer. All the prospects with late 2001 birthdates were not eligible to participate, but it was still a good preview of many of the top ranked players in their draft class.

In terms of rankings, there is still much debate among pundits whether this tournament should even really matter in the grand scheme of things. Vasili Podkolzin & Philip Broberg proved last year it certainly matters to some GM’s and scouts as both ended up Top 10 overall NHL draft picks thanks to outstanding performances at this tourney. First impressions can be lasting ones. If nothing else, this tournament should be considered a good starting point in tracking a prospect’s progression throughout the course of their draft year. A measuring stick if you will, where you can identify strengths & weaknesses of a player skill-set wise, and track their progression or regression in those specific areas. Typically, these kids develop fast at this age & many experience an offensive spike during their league play. We’ve seen glimpses of that already with a few players in particular who looked primed to explode in their draft year. This tournament was a small sample sure, but could also be a preview of big things to come. 

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The Top Performers

courtesy of TSN.ca

Yaroslav Askarov – If there was any doubt who the best goalie in the world was for this upcoming draft, that has evaporated. Askarov was the tournament’s best player hands down after limiting a loaded Canadian squad offensively and leading his team to the Gold Medal. His combination of athleticism & positioning combined with his ability to track the puck and limit rebounds makes him very difficult to beat. If you consider what he did against a loaded U.S. team last year at the U18’s & now this tourney, Askarov seems like a virtual Top 10 lock regardless of what happens the rest of the way. He posted a .960 SV% in 4 games started.

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courtesy of TSN.ca

Cole Perfetti – The leading goal scorer and point getter of the tournament, Perfetti was simply outstanding for Team Canada. He had 3 multiple goal games including a shootout thriller where he scored 3 times. He displayed tremendous hands & a variety of highly skilled moves in tight. Terrific offensive instincts, excellent vision and poise. His speed also looked like it improved a step from last year. He was however, held off the stat sheet in the Gold Medal game where he was just unable to beat Askarov despite multiple chances.  

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courtesy of TSN.ca

Hendrix Lapierre – You could argue, no one helped improve their draft stock and overall ranking more after this tourney than Lapierre. Paired with Perfetti the entire tournament, Lapierre showed off his tremendous hockey IQ and terrific 200 foot game by creating several turnovers with his smart positioning and great anticipation. He made several beautiful passes to setup his teammates, and his speed and puck control also looked much improved since last season. A real force the entire tournament, his game looks so reminiscent of a young Jonathan Toews

 

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courtesy of utv.ru

Alexander Pashin – Despite being only listed as 5’8″, 154lbs, Pashin proved to be a beast for his Russian squad by scoring 7 goals in 5 games including the game winner in the Gold Medal game. In fact, his whole line was terrific all tournament. Pashin has tremendous speed as he blew by defenders routinely this whole tourney. He also showed off his quick hands and deceptive shot and release. Ranked 89th overall by Future Considerations going into last week, you’ve got to think his stock has shot up dramatically. An explosive player with a little bite to his game, Pashin was the biggest surprise at this year’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. 

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Other Promising Prospects

Since we are quickly becoming your #1 trusted source for all CHL prospects, we’d be reminisced to not talk about some other European players who stood out & will be playing next season in the OHL, WHL or QMJHL.

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Vasili Ponomaryov (F)

Having just committed to Shawinigan of the QMJHL, Russian sniper Vasili Ponomaryov had an excellent tournament playing on a line with Alexander Pashin & Pavel Tyutnev. He created a ton of chances and flashed an excellent 2 way game. He finished the tournament tied for 5th in scoring with 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points. He should immediately contribute in a Top 6 offensive role and on the PP in for Shawinigan. 


Michal Gut (F)

One of the biggest surprises of this tournament, Michal Gut flashed tremendous skill and explosiveness. He showed off some sick mitts in the shootout and scored a variety of ways throughout the tournament. He finished the tourney with 3 goals & an assist to lead the Czech Republic. He will be playing for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL this upcoming season.  

 

Kasper Puutio (RD)

The 2nd leading scorer on Finland with 4 assists in 5 games, Kasper Puutio will be taking his talents to Swift Current of the WHL after being selected 1st overall the most recent Import draft. He is an excellent skater, has a big shot from the point and good leadership qualities. 


Keanu DeRungs (LW)

Tied for the team lead in points (2), Keanu Derungs flashed some high level skill with a highlight reel goal and a terrific setup for Switzerland. He’s a hard worker who shows excellent puck control and isn’t afraid to go hard to the net despite his light frame. He will be playing for Victoria of the WHL this upcoming season. 


Simon Knak (LW)

Though it didn’t show up on the scoresheet, Simon Knak was one of the most dangerous players for the Swiss team in this tournament. He forced several turnovers and created a lot of chances he just couldn’t find the back of the net so finished with a disappointing 1 assist. He has an excellent shot & release and can play in all situations. He should be a key contributor for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL


Noah Delemont (D)

Noah Delemont is an excellent skater but can be classified as a “riverboat gambler.” He made some real questionable decisions and got caught in this tourney. But, the athletic skill-set is there he’ll just have to work on his decision making moving forward. Loves to join the rush. Very active stick. Should be entertaining to watch either way. He will be playing for Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL

 

Giancarlo Chanton (LD)

Giancarlo Chanton had a nice assist for Switzerland but was relatively quiet for the most part. He did struggle defensively quite a bit but has some nice tools. He will be playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL this season. 

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Oleksii Myklukha

The talented Slovakian Oleksii Myklukha scored a couple of goals and left a lasting impression with his speed and playmaking ability. Also displayed excellent hockey sense and a strong 200 foot game. He’s actually not draft eligible till 2021 but recently committed to Rouyn-Nouranda of the QMJHL

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Other tournament notables:

Ivan Ivan (QMJHL – Cape Breton) – 1 goal in 4 games.

Ruben Rafkin (OHL – Windsor) – 1 assist in 3 games

Oliver Suni (OHL – Oshawa) – 3 assists in 3 games

Kirill Steklov (OHL – London) – 1 assist in 5 games

 

 

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To comment please do so via Twitter, @TheOilKnight

By Yannick St. Pierre 06/26/20

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“For the first time in several years, the QMJHL boasts the #1 rated prospect by many heading into 2020 Draft. The league in general isn’t very deep in terms of overall quality this year but no one has more hype around him than Lafrenière. He has the potential to be a franchise player and generational talent. By the time the draft rolls around next June, he should be the 1st overall pick despite an extremely deep draft class”.  – The OilKnight

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#1.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 2 years, you should know that Alexis Lafrenière should be the best player drafted from the QMJHL for the draft in 2020 in Montréal. Even at 17 years old he already displays a very polished and mature game reminiscent of a young Sidney Crosby. Explosive skater, tremendous skill and offensive instincts, with an elite work ethic. Expectations are very high for him next year and I have no doubt that he will live up to those as the best player in this draft class. He will have a much bigger role with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. Potential Superstar.

courtesy of Hockey Prospects Center via Youtube

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#2.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

I have a pretty good feeling that these two players will sit at the top of the rankings all year. I expect Justin Barron to be easily the best Defenceman in the QMJHL for draft eligible players this year. Skating is the name of the game and Barron is an amazing skater. He has an excellent blend of agility, fluidity and technique. Skating looks effortless for him and I expect him to be playing a tons of minutes next year and contribute in all areas. He’s also an excellent puck mover with great offensive instincts. Led all Draft eligible d-men in the QMJHL in points with 41. Will compete with Jamie Drysdale for the right to be the top drafted CHL defenceman in 2020

courtesy of Puck Prodigy via Youtube

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#3.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

Hendrix Lapierre is one of my favorite players from the draft this year. In fact, I think I might end up buying his jersey. Chicoutimi will be stacked this year and should be one of the most fun teams to watch. Lapierre struggled a little bit with injuries last year but the sky is the limit for this kid. He can skate like the wind and he will be an absolute killer in transition. He is also one of the best playmakers in the whole draft, not only the QMJHL. He will need to get stronger which should help him improve his shot and prevent injuries. He only had 45 pts last year but don’t let those numbers fool you. No doubt in my mind that he will have a breakout year. He will finish the year with 50+ assists easily. There is some clips from last year where he carried the puck from end to end, he reminded me a bit of Connor McDavid. Not the same skill level but he has really high upside. The former 1st overall pick in the Midget draft, Lapierre won offensive rookie of the year in the “Q” last season. 

courtesy of NHL Prospects via Youtube

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#4.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

A Newfoundland native, Dawson Mercer is one of the older players for this draft class and you can clearly see that he is way ahead of everyone in his development curve. There is a real PRO vibe to his game. He has good speed and a big shot. Not real flashy, but goes hard to the net. It will be interesting to see how he does next year without guys like Joe Veleno and Maxime Comtois moving on along with a couple of overages also no longer on the team. Mercer will undoubtedy get a ton of ice-time and he should be able to score a lot of goals even if Drummondville won’t be very good. His game remind me a little bit of Kyle Turris.

courtesy of Louis-William Gagne via Youtube

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#5.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

I watched Mavrik Bourque play a lot last year and I wasn’t super impressed. He played on a terrible team but was put in a very good position to shine playing with the team’s best winger in Jan Drozg and on the first PP unit since day one. He did lead all 2020 draft eligibles in points with 54, including 10 PP goals. He doesn’t have a super heavy shot but owns a quick release and it is very accurate. For me, he will need to improve his play without the puck and be more involved in the play. He was often a passenger and wasn’t creating enough for my liking. He is pretty good on the faceoff dot but other than that he doesn’t play like a center. Like most prospects he needs to bulk up. Plenty of offensive ability makes him an intriguing draft option. 

courtesy of Bergyshow via Youtube

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#6.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

I really like how Theo Rochette improved throughout the course of last season. He reminds me a bit of 2019 draftee Alex Turcotte though might not be quite as good defensively yet. He does everything pretty well but nothing really elite that stands out to his game. He’s a quick skater who displays good vision and owns a very good wrister. An underrated playmaker at this point. Very solid in all areas. It should be a good battle this year with he and Mavrik Bourque, they are pretty close right now in my opinion.

courtesy of AllSport Mixtapes via Youtube

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#7.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

Players in Saint John were very hard to evaluate last season. They got demolished pretty much every game and 16 yr old Jérémie Poirier struggled defensively for most of the year. He does have some very exciting tools though. Nice size, with good skating and above average puck skills. I would like to see him either get better defensively next year or take a major step up offensively. High upside but he does come with a little bit of risk. The Sea Dogs should be much better so it’s possible he takes a giant leap forward in his draft year. 

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#8.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

If he plays all year with 2019 draftee Samuel Poulin in Sherbrooke next year, Patrick Guay he will produce a ton of offence. Last year, he physically struggled a little bit as a 16 yr old so will definitely need to get stronger in that area. He’s small and is soft on the boards but he has one nasty wrist shot. Kind of like Cole Caufield, you wonder how they are able to generate that much power behind their shot given that they are short and light. Guay is a riskier pick because he doesn’t bring much more other than offence. If he doesn’t put points on the board next year he will slip very fast on my board as he’s too one-dimensional at this point. 

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#9.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

Lukas Cormier is someone I will need to be very careful of because he did have a very solid season offensively last year. He projects as an excellent puck mover with good puck skills & is a smooth skater.  I struggled a little bit at projecting him to the next level but he’s definitely an intriguing player that I need to watch more during next season. Note: Cormier had the most goals for a 16 yr old defenceman in the CHL last season and the 6th most goals (15) in the history of the CHL at that age. 

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#10.

courtesy of theqmjhl.ca

Pretty mature for his age, Charlie DesRoches plays a very solid 2 way game. I would like to see a bit more from him offensively but he is ahead of Cormier and Poirier on the defensive side of things. I’m just not sold on the upside yet but he is certainly one of the more talented draft eligible blueliners in this league. He did manage 10 goals in 59 games

courtesy of Sports and Moore via Youtube

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OTHER DRAFT NOTABLES

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To comment please do so via Twitter @Livingod1 or @TheOilKnight

by TheOilKnight – March 6/2019

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This is the 2nd installment of a 3 part series where I will breakdown every draft eligible player in the CHL & rate the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers drafting them. I feel like by doing this it gives even the average fan an opportunity to learn more about Draft prospects without having to do the legwork of searching for them all online. Oilers fans in particular are extremely knowledgeable and I’ve found the more information you can provide them about their team at all levels the better. It is important to note, that while I am not a Professional Scout I do take this very seriously and have a system I have found that works well over the years. For more information on exactly what I look for please check out my Scouting Basics post…..

The Edmonton Oilers have not done particularly well drafting out of the QMJHL the last few years. In fact, they’ve only drafted one player from the Quebec league in the last four years total (Olivier Rodrigue). Before that, they drafted 8 players from 2004-2014, only one of which ever even played a game in the NHL and it was for only 2 games (Philippe Cornet). That’s awful. 14 years and counting and not ONE impact player drafted? How is that even possible? You really have to question whoever is in charge of scouting that league.

Last season, two of my favourite prospects in the entire draft were from the “Q“- Noah Dobson & Philipp Kurashev. The Oilers took Evan Bouchard over Dobson which is hard to argue as he certainly fit their need for a future offensive defenceman. Kurashev however, dropped to the 4th round despite being a 2nd round talent in my books, but Edmonton traded their 4th rd pick earlier so passed him up. Too bad, as Kurashev is having another strong season for the Quebec Remparts & had a massive World Junior performance where he scored 6 goals in 7 games for Switzerland. He looks like a true sleeper draft year +1.

Anyways, here is a list of all the Centers who are likely to be drafted this year out of the “Q“. The first column is a general ranking based on where I think they should be rated roughly. Not every player is ranked by every system so I tried to list the most appropriate. I used a variety of resources: ISS (International Scouting Services), FC (Future Considerations), NCS (NHL Central Scouting) and my own rankings to determine where they could be drafted. The rankings will likely change by end of the year but this is a good measuring stick for now. I used hockeydb.com for the measurables and the player links all direct to eliteprospects.com.

Center

OVR RankShootsCENTERSSizeWeightGPGAP
FC 11RRaphael Lavoie6’419862324173
NCS 29LNikita Alexandrov6’017964273461
NCS 63LMikhail Abramov5’1016162163854
NCS 72 LValentin Nussbaumer6’016858172138
NCS 165 L Mathieu Bizier
6’018768142539
NCS 198 L Filip Prikryl
6’117067141731
NCS 204 L Xavier Simoneau
5’717255183957
NCS 209 L Xavier Parent
5’1018163143145
NR L Alexei Sergeyev 5’716867151934
NR R Marcel Barinka6’11615171118

Players I’d consider a “maybe” for the Oilers:

Raphael Lavoie – There might not be a more intriguing mid 1st round pick in this draft for me than Lavoie. I loved this player last season but this season it was all over the map. I saw him good, then read some critical reviews so went back & watched more video & it caused some concerns. It’s tough to dismiss your initial impressions on a prospect but something about this player scares me. There are red flags in his game so subsequently, I think the bust potential is real. He’s still a 1st rounder in my books but I’m much more leery now.

Lavoie is a big guy who has good top-end speed for his size, and can really shoot the puck first and foremost. His shot is hard with a terrific release & he can shoot from anywhere. That makes him extremely valuable to a team like EDM for example. He also goes hard to the net and does a good job of shielding opponents with his big frame. His first couple steps need work though. Lavoie has a certain swagger about him that I’m not sure is a good thing or not. His hockey IQ seems to highly debatable depending on who you talk to. I think much of it depends on which night you catch you him on. What I’ve noticed is a lot of times, he slows down and allows defenders to take away his time and space, then SETTLES for a low percentage shot. That’s probably where that “poor decision making” narrative comes from. But, he looks like a true power forward in this draft who loves to shoot the puck.

The knocks on him are consistency & lack of defensive awareness at times. He plays on a stacked team and didn’t always show up on the scoreboard like he should have early, but has gotten better as the season has gone on and in the playoffs. He can play center or the wing but if does not continue to improve his defence and decision making, will end up on the wing in the NHL which wouldn’t be a bad thing. His 46.5 FO% also tells me he might be better suited as a RW anyways. Edmonton has a huge need for a player like this so it wouldn’t be a shock at all if they trade down to free up some salary, and target a guy like Lavoie later in the 1st round. He is a late 2000 birthday so just missed the cut-off for getting drafted last year, but put up 30 goals, 63 pts last season so that’s not a concern for me. Watch this highlight from Team Canada last summer:

***Update*** As of April 18, Lavoie has dominated in the playoffs for Halifax. He has 13 goals & 20 points in 11 playoff games. 5 of those goals however, were ENG’s.

Conclusion: There’s no question some of the success this prospect had is because he is bigger & stronger than everyone in Junior and can really rip the puck. He’s far from a complete product, they are some concerns about his game & the IQ is still a question mark. Probably going to be a RW instead of a Center. Sort of reminds me of Jesse Puljujarvi in Edmonton.

Projected Round: Mid-late 1st round pick

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Nikita Alexandrov – One of the biggest risers on draft boards this year, Alexandrov is a silky smooth pivot who certainly looks the part. Has nice size, good speed, can dangle & is a smart player who makes a lot of good, subtle plays. He displays great vision & can make some terrific passes. He kind of reminds me of Matvei Guskov in the OHL except he goes harder to the net & has a much better shot. His wrister is absolutely deadly and he shoots a ton. 192 shots in 58 games for a center. Great hands in tight too. Still needs to work on his defensive game from what I can tell but by all indications is improving in that area. 43.6 FO% will need to get better but projects as a Center at the next level. Sneaky upside as he appears to still be a bit raw. Looks like an early 2nd rd pick.

Projected Round: late 1st round to 2nd round pick

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Valentin Nussbaumer – This is a player that grows on you the more you watch him. His best trait is probably his competitiveness. He never stops hustling, creates a lot of turnovers & wins more than his share of puck battles. He’s not a speedster but he’s real quick in short bursts & is elusive and agile. While not quite the playmaker his fellow countryman Philipp Kurashev is, Nussbaumer always seems to be around the net and creating chances. Like Kurashev, he needs to shoot more as he has a very quick shot & release but only has 96 SOG in 53 games. He is a strong 200 ft player and can also play the wing. 41.9 FO% likely means he will be a winger at the next level. Real nice player on an awful Shawinigan team. Excellent value in the 3rd round. Could be a steal if he drops to 4th round or later. Talented, versatile, determined player.

Projected Round: 3rd-4th round pick

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*** Alexey Sergeev & Xavier Simoneau are both intriguing late round players too. Both have some nice scoring ability. Sergeev has had some nice chemistry with Kurashev, while Simoneau is tiny but can score.

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Who I don’t like for the Oilers:

Mikhail Abramov – An intelligent playmaker, Abramov lacks overall speed and appears to be more of a perimeter player than a guy who likes go hard to the net or battle along the boards. Skinny kid who loses too many puck battles & gets pushed off puck. More of a passer than a shooter. Can make some terrific passes while displaying great vision. Currently ranked ahead of Nussbaumer, I think his overall determination pales in comparison. Easy to play against type who needs to get bigger, stronger and work on his speed.

Projected Round: 3rd-5th rd pick

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Left Wing

OVR RankShootsLeft WingSizeWeightGPGAP
FC 20LJakob Pelletier5’916165395089
FC 22LSamuel Poulin6’120767294776
NCS 102RTaro Jentzsch6’116853182442
NCS 156LBrett Budgell6’019267181533
NCS 200LBrooklyn Kalmikov6’017061191029
NRLOliver Okuliar6’119266142842
NCS 151LBailey Peach5’1017454112435
NRLJeremy Martin6’018362152439
NRLMika Cyr5’917466283967

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Players I’d consider a “maybe” for the Oilers:

Samuel Poulin – Poulin reminds me a bit of Raphael Lavoie. He’s big, strong and goes hard to the net. He also shoots a lot & has a big shot including a deadly one-timer. While, he may not have as much speed or overall skillset as Lavoie, he seems to play with more determination in is game at both ends of the ice. Poulin is a good playmaker especially down low, and a nifty stickhandler in his own right. Not sure if the offensive upside is there or his numbers are just a product of his size and determination. But, he’s a volume shooter so the Oilers should consider him. I just wouldn’t take him in the 1st round and would be hesitant to take him early 2nd. Speed probably the biggest drawback. Could very well end up being a “better than the sum of his parts” type of player due to his outstanding work ethic. Showed well at the Prospects game.

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Projected Round: Late 1st-early 2nd Round Pick

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Jakob Pelletier – There is plenty to like about Pelletier I just don’t think he would be a good fit for the Oilers. Why? For one, he reminds me a lot of Kailer Yamamoto. That small, but skilled forward who at times gets pushed around too much trying to play a possession game. Edmonton needs more shooters and Pelletier can be guilty of over-passing and not shooting enough. Plus, the Oilers need more speed in their lineup and Pelletier’s speed looks to be average for his size. Make no mistake, he is highly skilled and could have a successful career somewhere as versatile playmaker. I just don’t see the fit in Edmonton.

Projected Round: Late 1st-early 2nd round pick

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Right Wing

OVR RankShootsRight WingSizeWeightGPGAP
FC 44RNathan Legare6’019668433780
FC 57RMaxim Cajkovic5’1118760222446
FC 72RAlex Beaucage6’219268394079
FC 78LYegor Serdyuk5’1116563254065
NCS 166RYaroslav Likhachyov5’1116857121224
NCS 160LJeremy Michel6’115064162642
NRLChristophe Farmer5’10154416713

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Who I like for the Oilers:

Maxim Cajkovic – Pronounced “Chy-ko-vich”, here is a player that has a dynamic skillset and has really come on in 2nd half of season. The former 1st overall pick in the Import draft, Cajkovic is a offensive force. His shot and release are elite, as he can score from almost anywhere. He’s also a terrific passer and makes a lot of smart plays with the puck. He can really drive the play and create chances on his own but still plays an unselfish game. Has excellent speed & acceleration. He shows up big in tournaments for Slovakia, and had a lot of success playing in Sweden as a teenager. Stood out for me at the Hlinka-Gretzky vs. Team Canada. His Junior team the Saint John Sea Dogs are having a lousy season but he is clearly their best player. Has the potential to be a real sleeper in 2nd round. Has that “Whoa” factor. Perfect type of player for the Oilers.

Projected Round: 2nd-3rd Round Pick

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Nathan Legare – I rank Legare below Cajkovic because I like Cajkovic’s game better. But, there is a lot to like about Legare who has 43 goals in 62 games. He has a big shot and relentless work ethic which certainly bodes well for his potential. He scores a pile of goals right in front of the net as he loves to hang out around the blue paint. Plus, he’s a battler. He battles along the boards and in his own zone. Not sure his game translates well to the NHL though. His speed is somewhat suspect and he’s not really a driver, he’s more of a trigger man. He’s got decent size but isn’t overly physical. Classic overachiever who gets by on sheer guts and determination which should make him a fan favourite. I see a Matthew Tkachuk type minus the puck skills and chippiness. Complimentary winger.

Projected Round: 2nd-3rd rd pick

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Players I don’t like for the Oilers:

Alex Beaucage – Another natural goal scorer, Beaucage is big and strong but slow afoot. He also plays on a very good team (54-7-1) and probably benefits from that more than anything. He has a terrific shot though and can dangle in close. Not sure about his 200 foot game as his team is so strong everyone is +30 or so. Tough to get an accurate read on this player but the speed factor probably means he slips a bit and not a great fit for Edmonton.

Projected Round: 3rd-4th Round Pick

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Yegor Serdyuk – A goal scorer, but similar to Arthur Kaliyev in that he doesn’t do enough away from the puck for my liking. Not really a driver relies more on his linemates to do the dirty work as he tries to get open. Doesn’t work hard enough in puck battles. Speed isn’t great though he is quick in short bursts. Questionable 200 ft game. Seems disinterested at times. Too many red flags for me despite the knack for goal scoring.

Projected Round: 4th-6th Round Pick

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Defencemen

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OVR RankShootsDefencemenSizeWeightGPGAP
FC 55LArtemi Knyazev5’1117655132134
FC 90LJustin Bergeron6’118165164157
NCS 57RMaxence Guenette6’11816882432
NCS 59RJordan Spence5’101656864349
NCS 42LSamuel Bolduc6’42126592837
NCS 172ROliver Turan6’52186131013
NCS 147RNoah Laaouan5’111706951823
NCS 152RThomas Pelletier6’31926421214
NCS 169RSean Larochelle5’101596872229
NCS 194RNathan Larose6’11925361319
NRLJarrett Baker6’01876851419
NCS 208LJasper Rannisto6’2176523811
NCS 216LAdam McCormick5’111816372330
NRLJaxon Bellamy6’41836051116
NRLSimon Le Coutre 6’01832710717

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Who I like for the Oilers:

Artemi Knyazev – If you’re looking for a puck rushing defenceman with great offensive instincts in this crop, then look no further than Knyazev. He is a fabolous skater who transitions from defence to offence quickly as he’s always looking to jump up and join the attack. He is a treat to watch as he is very active in the offensive zone that almost looks Quinn Hughes like. Speed & agility are top notch. He also has a very good shot with a quick release. Tied for 3rd in QMJHL in PPG’s with 7, and leads all blueliners with 5 GWG’s. His vision and passing also to appear to be a strength though he does seem to turn the puck over more than you’d like. Very similar to Kolyachonok from the OHL though needs to work on his defensive intensity a bit more. Flashier, but a bit more mistake prone. Terrific talent nonetheless, can’t see him lasting past the 2nd round.

Projected Round: 2nd rd pick

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Samuel Bolduc – I gotta admit, I’ve seen a variance of opinions on Bolduc. Some people think he is overrated, while others think he is underrated. I gotta say, based on everything I have seen – I’m a big fan of the player. He first stood out to me at the Prospects game where his size and strong skating ability were quite apparent. Then I went back and watched a pile of tape on him and came away very impressed. He also tested extremely well at the combine, finishing 1st overall among all prospects in off-ice testing. On-ice, he was the fastest skater backwards with the puck, and 2nd fastest without just like Noah Dobson the previous year. That matters to me. In fact, I see him as a more physical version of Dobson who while may not have the offensive upside Noah does, can still join the rush and move the puck. Owns a howitzer of a shot & is 2nd in draft eligible dmen with 155 SOG. A big imposing, dman who can really skate, has good leadership qualities and a nastiness to his game which should translate well to the pros. Not a 1st rounder but great value in 2nd-3rd round.

Projected Round: 2nd-3rd rd pick

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Jordan Spence – If the Oilers are looking for speedy, skilled puckmovers than Spence fits that bill to a tee. His size is a bit of a concern but his skating abilities are not. He was passed up in the draft last year but is a trendy sleeper pick this year amongst people I trust. I haven’t seen a lot of him, but he looks fast, makes smart decisions and is pretty good defensively. Shows great anticipation in d-zone to break up plays and quick to lead the breakout out of zone. Moves the puck extremely well & shows great vision. Need to see more but a very intriguing player. Pegged as a 3rd-4th rd prospect right now.

Projected Round: 3rd-4th Round pick

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*** Honestly, there is a lot to like about the Top 4 or 5 dmen in this group as they are all good puck movers. Justin Bergeron just missed the cut-off for being drafted last year. He may not be elite at anything but does everything real well. Smart, mobile, good defensively & has a very hard accurate shot. Maxence Guenette is a terrific skater and puck mover in his own right and is also very capable defensively. Very nice group overall.

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7 Round Mock Draft (QMJHL only)

1st rd – C/RW Raphael Lavoie (trade down)

2nd rd – D Artemi Knyazev

3rd rd – RW Maxim Cajkovic

4th rd – RD Jordan Spence

5th rd – LW/C Alexey Sergeyev

6th rd – C Xavier Simoneau

7th rd – D Jaxon Bellamy

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RECAP:

While the QMJHL draft crop may not have as much high end skill as previous years, there are still plenty of quality prospects that could have an impact at the NHL level. There are a bunch of forwards who know how to score and player a power game. Meanwhile, on defence there are several quick, puck movers that NHL teams covet. Goaltenders are voodoo so I will also update those later as well.

But for now, I’ve highlighted who I think are good fits for the Edmonton Oilers out of the QMJHL for this upcoming draft. Edmonton needs more speed & skill but also guys who play a determined game. The Oilers haven’t had a great history drafting out of this league, it would be nice if they could finally find an impact player or two here. Next up, I will touch on the WHL in the third installment coming out soon.

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