November is the month where good teams separate themselves from the average teams and the poor teams become evident. The same can be said about draft eligible prospects.
Some players get off to quick starts only to fizzle down the stretch while others start to get recognized in what could be described as their most important season.
The latter includes Francois Brassard. As a backup behind star Louis Domingue, Brassard will not get the press that a Francois Tremblay may attain. However, Brassard showed he may become every bit as good of a prospect come the entry draft.
Brassard plays big in his net, he really challenges the shooter to make a good shot. He is also very composed, almost lackadaisical in his movements. He also posses above average agility between the pipes. If there were one concern, it would be Brassard’s rebound control. He has shown tendencies to lose focus on easy shots and give up a rebound. With Domingue possibly getting traded around Christmas before the deadline, Brassard will soon start rising on everyone’s draft charts.
Another player who has been moving up would be Rouyn-Noranda defensmen Alexandre Leclerc. Standing at six-foot-four and 212 pounds, Leclerc is a physically imposing defensmen who uses his size well to win battles both in the corner and in front of the net. He skates well backwards and very good lateral movement makes him very hard to beat one on one. Leclerc looks a little choppy skating up the ice but that should almost certainly get fixed sometime in the future. Leclerc’s offense is pretty limited but that isn’t his game, he will be a tough minute player in the future. Entering the season on a team with Dillon Fournier and Simon Desmarais, Leclerc made his case for being an NHL worthy prospect.
Sticking with Rouyn-Noranda, a player who disappointed was defensman Simon Desmarais. After a promising rookie season with the Halifax Mooseheads, Desmarais was supposed to take his game to the next level. Instead it seemed as if he was stuck in second gear.
Desmarais has good size and good attributes but it seems he has trouble thinking the game at this level as his brain cramps on defense have led to goals against. Known for being a defense first defensmen, it wasn’t all that apparent in Desmarais’ play. There is still time to regroup and turn this season around but if a player is having trouble with QMJHL speed, what can one expect at the NHL level.
Another defensmen to mention is Ryan Culkin of the Quebec Remparts. With all the press that Mikhail Grigorenko gets, it would be easy to get caught in his shadow. A slick two-way defensmen, Culkin was used on the top pair and top power-play unit. He is an agile skater who moves the puck very well and uses his skill and body positioning to outmatch players in the corner. Culkin eats a lot of minutes on one of the better teams in the QMJHL.
It seems that Cape Breton was the spring board for forward Vladislav Shalimov of the Val-d’Or Foreurs. He entered the weekend set with eight points in 21 games. Since then he has posted 12 points in eight games in the month of November.
Shalimov has an interesting skillset. He has an excellent shot, one that he should use more often. He is also a very good skater with a nice long stride. With a projectable frame it is hard to not get excited about Shalimov’s future. One concern would be that Shalimov tends to be invincible for portions of the game.
Taylor Burke of the Gatineau Olympiques is once again battling injuries. He injured his knee a week ago, the extent of the damage is unknown. This comes after shoulder injuries that kept him out of action for over half a year. This has to be a concern moving forward, to be effective Burke has to play that rough in your face type of game.
Raphael Bussieres of Baie-Comeau is also nursing an injury, Prior to the injury he has been having a good season but certainly not separating himself from players behind him. He will look to ramp up his play in the second half. Bussieres has the luxury of a strong reputation though, which will buy him time to recover from the injury.
His fluctuation will be a little less drastic as others, while each Quebec Major Junior Hockey League prospect battles for recognition in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Jason MacIsaac is an area scout for Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!