Friday, September 9, 2011

SN's 2011-12 Season Preview

By SN Staff
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s 2011-12 season began last night with the Moncton Wildcats defeating the Saint John Sea Dogs 3-1.

Tonight, the league gets into full swing with eight games on the schedule.

This season looks like it will be an interesting one. With the league hosting the Memorial Cup, the reigning national champions looking to repeat, and several top prospects playing in the league this year, there won't be many dull moments over the next several months.

(Note: Whenever the Cataractes are discussed on this site this year, the above picture of Jean Chretien will be used.)

Hockey publications have been pumping season previews and predictions all week long. Here are some that are worth checking out:

Hockey’s Future – QMJHL 2011-12season preview
Times & Transcript – East, West, and Maritimes Division Predictions

So without further delay, here is how we see the QMJHL divisions looking this March.

Maritimes Divsion
1. Saint John Sea Dogs
We expect Saint John to eventually recover from last night’s loss. When everyone returns from NHL camps, the Sea Dogs should dominate for yet another season.

2. Moncton Wildcats
The Wildcats have a solid looking team heading into the season headlined by Brandon Gormley. Plus, the Saulnier twins might get 300 points each. They’ll finish second.

3. Halifax Mooseheads
For the first time in years, Moosehead fans will be able to watch their team without a bags over their heads. The Herd should have an entertaining team to watch this year with plenty of young prospects. Nathan MacKinnon will record an unlimited amount of points.

4. Acadie-Bathurst Titan
The Titan have a decent group of returning players. We’re still stunned over their playoff performance last year.

5. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Ron Choules had this to say in the Chronicle Herald today: "We’ll just bring our lunch boxes and workboots to the rink every day and we’ll play hard and practise hard.” They’ll finish fifth.

6. PEI Rocket
Looking like another ‘blah’ season for the Rocket. Gordie Dwyer has his work cut out for him.

Telus West Division
1. Drummondville Voltigeurs
The Volts have been good ever since they were really bad (07-08). Their success this year depends on the return of Sean Couturier and Ondrej Palat.

2. Gatineau Olympiques
Palov said it best: “Any team coached by Benoit Groulx will be relevant at the end of the day.” What a coach.

3. Val-d’Or Foreurs
They have two players from Fredericton listed on their roster. How neat.

4. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
We flipped a coin to see who would be worse – the Huskies or the Armada. The Huskies won. They’ll finish fourth.

5. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
The Aramada’s first season will feel just about as long as their team name.

Telus East Division
1. Victoriaville Tigres
The Tigres gave the Sea Dogs a big challenge in the second round of the playoffs last year and should be even better this season. Goaltender David Honzik may not allow a goal all year.

2. Shawinigan Cataractes
The Memorial Cup hosts (pictured) were so busy trying to get TMZ to investigate the Sea Dogs’ 2009 draft practices that they forgot to build a team. They have some holes they need to fill.

3. Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Christopher Gibson is good. Charles Hudon is good. Etienne Brodeur is good. Their backend features two former Sea Dogs. The Sags will be doing some #winning this season.

4. Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Even without MacKinnon, the Drakkar have put together a good looking team.

5. Quebec Remparts
Patrick Roy surprised nobody by signing a bunch of big time players over the off-season. Mikhail Grigorenko should be fun to watch.

6. Rimouski Oceanic
Not a great team + playing in a tough division = bad times in Oceanic land.

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