Future Considerations’ Quebec-based scout Maxime Duquet gives his thoughts on who from the 2016 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
Not surprisingly, the most impressive prospect in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, but another left me just as impressed.
A player who did a great job this year was Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Samuel Girard. Some scouts might be scared off because of his size, but this guy played like if he was 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. Every time he had the chance to deliver a bodycheck, he did and he was not afraid to take hits as well.
Offensively, this guy was a threat. His amazing skating skills allowed him to jump the rush often and give another option to the puck carrier. He also has a good eye for open passing lanes, however his shot has a lot of room to improve. His shot accuracy is not that bad, but his velocity could be way better.
Outside of that, Girard has all the tools to play in the NHL, but his size remains the main question. Will he be able to play against bigger guys in the NHL?
Seeing Julien Gauthier play left me with questions, too, of a different nature.
I feel like he is the kind of player who absolutely needs to play with an elite playmaker because he struggles to create scoring chances by himself. He is a great finisher but he needs that perfect pass or he needs to have that shooting lane wide open.
Defensively, he could be more active, too. He relies heavily on his teammates to get the job done in his own end. For example, instead of helping his teammate in the corner, Gauthier waits at the blue line hoping that the puck will appear on his stick. However, he is still a good player. He dominates on the physical side and he has a NHL calibre shot but he needs to work a little harder and stop relying on his teammates.
One of the bigger surprises I saw this year was a no-brainer; Matthew Boucher.
No one expected Boucher to have that kind of season with the Quebec Remparts. He put impressive numbers, especially for a guy who only got 16 points in 63 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2014-15.
He has a great vision, he can find easily his teammates on the ice but he can also get the job done. He’s a hard worker he is not afraid to go into dirty areas, but the main issue is his size.
By Maxime Duquet