Friday, June 1, 2018

A look at the top prospects

Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

SHAWINIGAN, Que. - With the Saint John Sea Dogs drafting twice in the top 10, we decided to take a look at some of the names we might hear on QMJHL Entry Draft day.

The Sea Dogs currently hold the second and eighth overall selections (and the 15th - pending any other trades). This will be a crucial draft for Saint John's rebuilding process.

1. Hendrix Lapierre - Gatineau L'Intrepide
Forward - 5' 11" 161lbs

The No. 1 prospect hails from Gatineau, Que. and plays for the Gatineau L'Intrepide in the Quebec Midget AAA league. Lapierre is a skilled centre with a great understanding for the game both offensively and defensively. He has a very good release, protects the puck well, and is willing to play in all areas of the ice. This past season, Lapierre tallied a total of 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points in 35 games. Lapierre also led the Gatorade Excellence Challenge in scoring by netting three goals while adding six assists for a tournament high nine points. He was a key factor in Team Quebec Blue's tournament victory.

2. William Villeneuve - Magog Cantonniers
Defense - 6' 0" 154lbs

The top rated defenseman in this year's draft class is William Villeneuve - who spent this past season playing with the Magog Cantonniers out of the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League. Villeneuve is a slick skating defender and has an outstanding hockey IQ. He plays extremely well at both ends of the ice and is considered to be a two way defender. Villeneuve can QB a power play with a quality point shot and has creative playmaking ability while shutting down the opposing team's top players when called upon. It should be noted that Villeneuve also shoots right handed, which should be considered a plus for any team drafting him. This season, Villeneuve collected nine goals and 25 assists for 34 points in 40 games with Magog. Villeneuve took part in this year's Telus Cup and played very well, compiling five assist in his seven games and often played against opposing teams' top players.

3. Patrick Guay - Magog Cantonniers
Forward - 5' 8" 155lbs

Patrick Guay played with the previously mentioned Villeneuve on an outstanding Magog squad out of the QMAAA league. Guay is also the younger brother of Drummondville Voltigeurs forward Nicolas Guay. Guay put up some impressive numbers this season with the Cantonniers, amassing 34 goals and 30 assists for 64 points in just 39 games. He also finished in a tie for the league goal scoring title with Sea Dogs prospect Justin Hryckowian - who is a year older. While Guay can fill the net with an excellent release, he plays an intelligent two-way game. Guay also played in the Telus Cup tournament and showed more of a play making style to his game, picking up a goal and five assists in seven matches.

4. Lukas Cormier - Moncton Flyers
Defense - 5' 8" 155lbs

Lukas Cormier is the top rated defenseman out of the Maritimes. Cormier dominated the NBPEIMMHL with the Moncton Flyers this season, picking up 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points in 35 games - putting him third overall in points for the entire league and seven points clear of the next defender. Cormier is an excellent skater and really knows how to use his edges to accelerate and get in/out of high traffic areas. Cormier is very skilled - but don't be surprised if he jumps into the fourth or fifth position on the draft board. Aside from his skill level, he is a character player and can still play solid defensively. Cormier was yet another player in this top six that was playing at the Telus Cup and he was a major reason for Moncton advancing to the tournament. Despite coming up short in the tournament, Cormier did not disappoint, recording two goals and two assists in five games on a team that struggled at times to generate offense.

5. Joshua Lawrence - Selects Hockey Academy
Forward - 5' 9" 165lbs

Joshua Lawrence was considered by several scouts to be a potential top pick in this year's draft. Lawrence amassed a total of 27 goals and 56 assists for 83 points in just 49 games this season with the Selects Hockey Academy based in Connecticut. He has very good vision and hockey IQ. He has all the tools that can make an excellent major junior player. He has an excellent shot but also likes to create plays for his teammates. Lawrence, however, is committed to Boston University for the 2020-21 season and at this point it appears he will continue down that path. There was some talk among scouts that Lawrence was disappointing at the Gatorade Excellence Challenge and may have dropped his stock somewhat. This shouldn't effect Lawrence too much; he appears to be heading for the NCAA route regardless of the outcome of the tournament - where Lawrence did manage to score two goals and add four assists in five games.

6. Jeremie Poirier - Chateauguay Grenadiere
Defense - 6' 0" 177lbs

Jeremie Poirier spent last season patrolling the blue line for the Chateauguay Grenadieres in the QMAAA ranks where he collected five goals and 26 assists for 31 points in 40 games. Poirier is an excellent skater who already possesses good size at 15 years of age. He's a smart player with a very good shot and should be a future power play QB in the QMJHL - if not in the not so distant future. Poirier joined Lapierre on the winning Quebec Blue squad and was steady on the back end, adding three assists to in his five games played at the Challenge.

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