Fortier forging on with second chance at draft

Aaron Vickers2016 Draft Center, 2017 Draft Center, Features, QMJHL

Disappointing, no doubt.

Sitting through two days of the 2016 NHL Draft and not being selection.

Two-hundred and eleven names called.

But not yours.

Not to worry though.

Not if you’re Maxime Fortier.

“For sure I was maybe expecting to hear my name between the fifth and seventh rounds,’ said Fortier, who sat idly in the stands on First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY on June 24th and 25th without getting picked after a 31-goal, 77-point season with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads.

“During that time it was really long, but at one point I said, ‘okay, I think it’s going to be over for me this year.’

“I was okay with that.

“It’s not that I didn’t care, but I just knew it wasn’t over.

“I just need to keep working and one day it’s going to happen.”

That day is coming soon with the way Fortier is trending as a 19-year-old with the Mooseheads.

The Montreal, QC native continues to explode in his third full season of major junior.

The 5-foot-10, 178-pound right wing has 27 goals and 72 points in just 50 games, and is making a strong case to be selected in his second go-round.

“I think I do my job this year,” said Fortier, who did participate in development camp as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens in July. “I have to be better. That’s what I’m doing. We’ll see what happens when we’re going to get closer to the draft.

“Me, for myself, I just have to be better everywhere on the ice. Every game I have to be consistent. If people change their mind and think it’s a good thing to draft me then they’ll do it. I’ll just keep on doing my job.”

But Fortier is less focused on the draft at the present time.

He’s more fixed on pushing Halifax along.

The Mooseheads finished ahead of only the Baie-Comeau Drakkar with a 21-39-7-1 record and 50 points last season. This year, the Mooseheads sit with 46 points through 46 games this season.

The growth of both the team and individual aren’t coincidence.

“Last year we got better as a team even though we finished second-last,” Fortier said. “It was not easy. We had a young team. We grew up together.

“It helped me a lot. I think my game got better last year and for sure point-wise it was there last year. It was big production for me.

“I think this year is the same thing. We have a better team, better players and the team is doing good and I just keep on getting better, too.”

Fortier’s improvement has helped Halifax.

And his chances at the 2017 NHL Draft.

An event he’ll consider attending again despite last year’s disappointment.

He’d do it all the same if he could, after all.

“I would’ve gone again, for sure,” Fortier said.

“It was a great experience just to be there.

“I’m lucky I got an invitation to a camp.

“It was a great experience. I would go again for sure.”