QMJHL Blog: Central Scouting list grows

Sam Cosentino and R.J. Broadhead recap Russia’s performance as they defeated the QMJHL to capture the 2014 Subway Super Series.

Team QMJHL gave the CHL a chance to make the Subway Super Series interesting in the final contest of the six-game series Thursday night. A 3-1 win earlier in the week highlighted by Halifax goalie Zach Fucale’s 40 save-effort brought the CHL to within one game of the Russians in the six-game series going into the final contest. But Russia stormed out to a 3-0 lead after two periods Thursday. Goals by Nicolas Meloche and Anthony Deluca in the third made it interesting, but Team Russia held on to win the series with 11 points, sweeping the WHL and then splitting games with the OHL and QMJHL.

We’ll be sure to see names from both Team Russia and the three CHL rosters in just over a month when the world juniors take place in Montreal and Toronto.

Here’s what you need to know from around the Q this week:

Maritimes Division

The Sea Dogs moved past the Wildcats to claim top spot in the division this week after picking up three points in a 4-2 win over Shawinigan and 3-2 overtime loss to Charlottetown. The team is off to a great start and second-year defenceman Thomas Chabot has been playing well on both sides of the puck. After being a healthy scratch for the home opener, Chabot has averaged almost a point per game. He’s used on the power play and the penalty kill and uses his 6-foot-2 and 179-lb. frame to cover the ice efficiently. NHL Central Scouting lists him as a “B” rated player, predicted to go in the second or third round of the 2015 NHL Draft. This weekend, Chabot had a goal and assist, bringing his season totals to five goals and 18 points. Last season he only scored once in 55 games.

One win in their past 10 games have the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles swooping downwards in the standings. With the powerhouse Halifax Mooseheads taking a couple steps back, the division looked up for grabs and expectations were high entering the season. Cape Breton acquired goalie François Brassard from the Quebec Remparts and drafted highly skilled Russian import forward Evgeny Svechnikov. Brassard hasn’t been able to run away with the starting job, splitting time with Miguel Sullivan, and currently has career-low numbers of 3.67 goals .876 to go along with four wins and 12 losses. This week, Cape Breton dropped two games on the road, losing 4-2 to Victoriaville and 4-1 to Drummondville.

The Halifax Mooseheads didn’t look like a team with the fewest goals in the QMJHL entering their Saturday night matchup with the league-leading Rimouski Océanic. With an 8-2 win over Rimouski and a 4-3 win over Moncton, the Mooseheads took their team goal totals from 65 to 77. Nikolaj Ehlers notched a goal, three assists and a rare fight versus skilled forward Anthony DeLuca. The Winnipeg Jets’ first-round pick has the Q’s longest current point streak dating back to October 29 with seven goals and 22 points in 10 games.

East Division

Despite injuries that have caused NHL first-rounders Sam Morin and Frédérlk Gauthier to miss significant time, the Rimouski Océanic have managed to stay on top of the QMJHL. This week, the team got a huge boost, a 6-foot-7 and 225-lb. boost to be exact, when Morin returned to the Rimouski blueline after missing five weeks with a broken jaw. The Philadelphia Flyers first-round pick (11th overall in 2013) was impressive in his return, picking up a goal and two assists. In his first game back against the Mooseheads, he was physical, dishing out big hits and driving hard to the net generating offensive chances. The Océanic were embarrassed on the road 8-2 against Halifax, but bounced back the next day with an 8-2 win of their own over Charlottetown. Florida Panthers fifth-rounder Christopher Clapperton led the way with a hat-trick.

The Shawinigan Cataracts have a respectable 6-4-0-0 record in their past 10 games. Goalie Marvin Cupper continues to give the team a chance to win every game and is in the midst of an extremely busy month. He’s faced a minimum of 30 shots in all six games he’s started, five of them wins. His biggest victory of season came Saturday, when he turned aside 39 of the 40 shots he faced in a 6-1 defeat of Moncton. Right-winger Alexis D’Aoust had a pair of goals in the win. He also scored the night before in the team’s 4-2 loss to Saint John.

The Victoriaville Tigres snapped an ugly four game losing streak, in which they allowed 21 goals, with a 4-2 win over the slumping Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. They were on their way to overtime against Rouyn-Noranda Sunday when Allan Caron popped in the game winner with 17 seconds left, just his third goal of the season for the Huskies. St. Louis Blues sixth-rounder Samuel Blais had a goal against Cape Breton and an assist against Rouyn-Noranda. The left-winger has cooled down after starting the season on an eight game point-streak. He’s still averaging over a point per game with 26 points in 22 games, second behind team leader Angelo Miceli who has 42 points.

West Division

Four wins in a row are keeping the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in a tight race. Each point is important in a division where just two separate first place Blainville-Boisbriand and the fourth place Sherbrooke Phoenix. A pair of seventh-round NHL picks are leading the offensive charge for the Huskies. Francis Perron, selected 190th by Ottawa last spring, leads the team with 34 points through 23 games. He’s set to shatter his career-high point total of 55 points in 68 games last year. He has two goals and eight points during the four-game win streak. Centre Julien Nantal was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche 204th in 2014. He had five points this week, highlighted by a pair of goals against Victoriaville. Like Perron, he’s on pace to surpass last year’s numbers of 34 points in 68 games.

The Gatineau Olympiques have only allowed two goals their past three games, keeping them in the hunt for first. They beat division rivals Blainville-Boisbriand 2-1 Friday with Brandon Whitney turned aside 37 of 38 shots. Nicolas Lachance then stepped in Saturday and turned away 21 of 22 shots in a 4-1 win over Acadie-Bathurst. The strong play of Whitney, acquired via trade from Victoriaville earlier this season, and Lachance resulted in Martin Brodeur’s son Anthony being pushed out of a job with the team. Brodeur was claimed off of waivers by the Drummondville Voltiguers this week.

All good things come to an end, including Blainville-Boisbriand Armada’s 13-game point streak. Their loss to Gatineau was their first regulation loss since October 5. The Armada picked up 24 points during that time, propelling them to the top of the division after a slow start.

Three Stars of the Week

Adam Erne, LW, Québec Remparts With Anthony Duclair still in the NHL, it’s been the Adam Erne Show for the MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts. The Tampa Bay Lightning second-round pick (33rd) had two goals and eight points this week. Erne is on a tear with 20 points during a 10-game point streak. On the season, he has 38 points in 21 games along with an impressive 19.5 shooting percentage.

Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Halifax Mooseheads A Gordie Howe Hat-trick against Rimouski to go along with five points gives Ehlers second star honours this week. Like Erne, he’s on a 10-game point streak, with 22 points.

Anthony Richard, C, Val-d’Or Foreurs For the second week in a row, the Foreurs have a forward on this list. This time around, it’s Anthony Richard, who found the back of the net five times and had an assist in two games this week. His biggest performance came Sunday with three goals in the third period against Chicoutimi, helping dig the Foreurs out of a 5-1 hole going into the third period.

2015 NHL Draft Watch

A new list of players to watch has been released by NHL Central Scouting with more players added. It now includes 46 QMJHLers, up from 37 in September. Halifax Mooseheads forward Timo Meier and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward Svechnikov both saw their rating go from a B to A, meaning they’re potential first rounders.

Both Charlottetown and Saint John have five players on the list including Sea Dogs forward Adam Marsh who has a B rating (projected second or third-rounder) after not being included in the initial rankings in September. The left-winger from Chicago leads the team in points with 22 in 22 games.

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