FC’s Scout Series: Claudia Fortier (QMJHL)

Special To FC2013 Draft Center, Scouts Series

Future Considerations’ QMJHL scout Claudia Fortier  gives her thoughts on who from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft class left her impressed, who disappointed and who her sleeper is on draft day.

Who Impressed?

The player who I think doesn’t get enough recognition is Dillon Fournier of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

He had a really good season despite playing on a weak team and being injured to his shoulder. He is the typical offensive defenseman that is very popular in the NHL these days. Fournier was never supposed to be a QMJHL first overall pick but ended up being picked first (in the QMJHL draft and the expansion draft after the Lewiston team folded).

In the expansion draft, Rouyn-Noranda selected him to be their main piece around which they would build their new group of players. He was put in the role of a leader on the blueline at the age of 17 and he didn’t crumble under pressure. He has been one of the best QMJHL defensemen in his draft year and proved he could step up his game.

Fournier will never be the most reliable defenseman in his own zone, however, his dominance in the offensive zone could help him have a respectable career in the NHL. Gaining weight will make him a better defenseman as he is very light and easy to push around when he tries to clear the front of the net or protect the puck in the corners. He reminds me a lot of Jerome Gauthier-Leduc whose own defensive lapses are hidden by the amount of praise he gets for his huge offensive talent. Fournier is the same type of player as he is developing into a dangerous weapon in the opponents’ zone.

Want the skinny on the 2012 NHL Entry Draft Class? Order FC’s 2012 Draft Guide – Available now!

Who Disappointed?

I had high hopes for Charles Hudon coming into the 2011-12 season after an amazing rookie campaign and an impressive performance at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in August.

Despite his small stature, the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award winner in 2010-11 was beginning to open eyes and convince people he might become a first rounder in his NHL draft. While he didn’t really regress since last year, I thought his sophomore season was a disappointment considering how much of a game breaker he was during his rookie campaign. He failed to have the same impact on hockey games that he had last year. He’s still a very talented player with a lot of skills but his development looks to have stalled this season.

Hudon never had an impressive skating and when he’s not dominating in other aspects of his game, he doesn’t look anything special. He often controlled the play as a rookie but he has struggled to do it with the same consistency in 2011-12. Nevertheless, he should still be drafted this weekend, probably around the third or fourth rounds.

There are bigger disappointments in the QMJHL considering how highly touted some where after their junior draft, especially Luca Ciampini and Dominic Poulin, but personally, I’m more disappointed about Hudon because of his flashes.

The Sleeper

It might be strange to consider Martin Frk as a sleeper but to me, he is a top-15 talents who will make a team really happy in the second round.

Once considered as a top pick for the 2012 draft, Frk has constantly fallen since his arrival in North America – primarily due to injuries. However, talent is still there and his wrist shot is one of the best of his draft class. He can play a power forward game while showing some impressive skills from time to time along with nice skating ability.

Frk isn’t afraid of physical play, he even loves it to the point that he sometimes put his team in hot water. If he can avoid injuries, he should have his break out year with Halifax next season and might make some teams regret not taking him earlier in the NHL draft.