There has been much talk surrounding Mikhail Grigorenko, Martin Frk and Raphael Bussieres, but the QMJHL’s prospect depth goes well beyond 2012.
To no surprise, Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads is generating a buzz not seen since Sidney Crosby roamed the rinks. MacKinnon is blessed with tremendous top end speed, a speed he is able to reach in his first 3 strides. He matches this speed with excellent stickhandling and tenacious drive.
With 25 goal and 36 assists in his first 42 games, he has shown the ability to dominate his opposition on any given night. In doing so he has lead his Halifax Mooseheadss to second place in the Maritime Division with 18 games remaining in the regular season.
MacKinnon still has some aspects of his game that need to be ironed out. He tends to play an individualistic game that leads to turnovers in his own end. Also, while his skills are elite, some may question if his hockey sense has quite caught up at this moment.
While with the Mooseheads, it wouldn’t do justice not to mention MacKinnon’s team-mate Jonathan Drouin. The diminutive forward did not report to the Mooseheads to start the season, only in December deciding it was the best thing for his career.
Drouin has an excellent skill-set that has adapted to the QMJHL quite well. A very shifty forward, Drouin uses this along with elite stickhandling to create room in the offensive zone. On top of this, Drouin has great speed and is relentless in the corners.
In just 15 games Drouin has posted 3 goals and 12 assists. His minus-12 is a testament to work he needs to do towards his defensive game. Drouin’s positioning is weak and can be seen leaving the zone early.
Without leaving the province of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward William Carrier is getting notice, not only for next season’s draft but possibly as part of Team Canada’s Under-18 squad in April.
Carrier is late 1994 born who play a rugged power forward style. At six-feet, 205 pounds, Carrier uses his size and speed to drive the net and work the puck in the corner. While putting the puck in the net is his main focus, he is also willing to drop the gloves.
In 50 games this season Carrier has put up 18 goals, 51 points and 53 PIM. Any team looking for an offensive agitator will have him on their list.
Quebec Remparts’ trio of Adam Erne, Anthony Duclair and Nick Sorensen could potentially become top 60 picks next June.
Sorensen got off to a terrific start to the season with five goals and four assists in just eight games. He then injured his knee in a collision with Jonathan Lessard of Baie-Comeau Drakar. Sorensen showed signs of terrific skating and finishing ability. We will see what 6 to 8 months of rehab means for him.
Duclair has been riding shotgun with star center Grigorenko and it shows in his totals. In 48 games he has 21 goals and 22 assists. Duclair has tremendous straight-away speed. He uses that speed to find the smallest of openings to be fed the puck. He has a very quick release on a shot that possesses a lot of zip.
Duclair’s weakness appears to be his decision-making and spurts of inconsistency. Question marks will be raised if he experiences a large drop off next season assuming Grigorenko plays in the NHL. We have seen this already in Quebec’s past with Angelo Esposito, let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.
The final prospect is Erne who plays a mix of a power-forward and sniper. Erne is a big powerful skater who uses these traits to beat defensmen wide and win battles along the boards. His biggest asset seems to be his shot and his ability to find space. Not to mention get it off lightning quick. In just 53 games Earn has amassed 176 shots and 23 goals. These are excellent numbers for a 19-year-old, let alone a 16-year-old.
While it looks very doom and gloom for this years NHL entry draft, next year promises to have a better balance with superior depth.