After four straight seasons of advancing past the first round of the playoffs, including two consecutive trips to the league final, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar need to re-tool and start from scratch. The top four forwards, including 54-goal man Maxime St-Cyr are gone, and they’ll be without Philippe Cadorette between the pipes for the first time in four seasons.
Sixth in the East Division. After a series of deep playoff runs, it’s back to the drawing board.
Vaclav Karabacek, a 2014 second-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres, joined the Drakkar during the December trade perio. d. He only scored six of his 17 goals with the new team, and finished with 40 points, seven fewer than his rookie season. Before the trade, he was a surprise cut from the Czech Republic world junior team after sleeping in and arriving late to a team meeting. The goal-scorer looks to put last season behind him and move forward as the offensive leader of the Drakkar.
Vaclav Karabacek likes to go for that five hole and he gets it every time #SabresDevCamp
— Max Marko (@MarkoFznFutures) July 7, 2015
Outside of Karabacek, no returning Drakkar players cracked 15 goals last season. Without a first-round pick in the 2015 Q draft, the prospect cupboard is bare as well. Russian Import pick Igor Kabanov could be a player to watch. The 6-foot-2, 183-pound winger was selected 2nd overall in the KHL draft, but chose the Canadian Hockey League route. He had 18 goals and 45 points in 29 games with a Russian under-17 team last year.
Outside of Colorado Avalanche prospect Nicolas Meloche and the Drakkar’s 2015 second-rounder Yan Aucoin, the blueline is fairly unpolished.
After playing the 2012-2013 season in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s then a season away from junior, Mathieu Desautels joined the Drakkar as a training camp invitee last season. He led the team in defensive scoring with 36 points and returns this season as a 20-year-old.
Matteo Pietroniro joins the Drakkar after a trade from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. His older brother Chad played for the Drakkar last season after a stint in the USHL.
With franchise staple Philippe Cadorrette gone, the Drakkar traded for Keven Bouchard on draft day. A change of scenery should be good for the Edmonton Oilers prospect who lost the starting job in Val-d’Or last season. In his second season, his GAA ballooned from 2.95 to 3.85 while his save percentage dipped slightly from .887 to .872. He’s backed by Russian goalie Evgeny Kiselev, traded from Shawinigan in August.
NHL prospect watch
Nicolas Meloche, D, Colorado Avalanche (2015, 40th overall)
Two-way defender Nicolas Meloche is nasty to play against. In a season shortened to 44 games because of injury, Meloche put up 34 points and 99 PIM. He returned in time for the playoffs where he had 10 points in 12 games and added another 22 PIM. He uses his entire 6-foot-2, 197-pound frame to make the opposition pay.
proud to be a part of the @Avalanche
— nicolas meloche (@nicolasmeloche) June 27, 2015