QMJHL Notebook: Mooseheads star returns


Nikolaj Ehlers (David Chan/Halifax Mooseheads)

A quick glance at the standings show how much turnover there has been in the QMJHL since last season. President Cup winners Val-d’Or are 3-6-1 through 10 games. The team they beat in the final, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, are batting .500 with a 4-4-1 record. The teams that lost in the semifinals last season, the Halifax Mooseheads (2-4-2) and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (2-6-1), aren’t looking good either.

Still, the Drakkar got excellent goaltending this weekend from Philippe Cadorette and the Mooseheads also have reason to hope for better days with the return of Nikolaj Ehlers. Val-d’Or picked up three points this week with shootout wins and losses. The Armada on the other hand are on a three-game losing streak. Here’s what else you need to know from this week in the Q:

Maritimes Division

The Halifax Mooseheads need all the scoring help they can get right now, currently last in the league in goals for. They’ll get a big boost on Friday night when Ehlers is back in the lineup. Last season he had 49 goals and 55 assists for 104 points in his rookie year.

Saint John Sea Dog Nathan Noel continues to impress in his draft year, scoring the only shootout goal in a 5–4 win over Charlottetown on Wednesday. On Friday, he added two goals in a 5–4 win over Cape Breton. He’s projected to go in the second round according to NHL Central Scouting Services. Naturally, his agent is impressed.

East Division

The Rimouski Oceanic are the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League according to its weekly rankings. Leading the team and the Q in points is Alexis Loiseau. Already in October, he’s found the net five times, including the only goal in the Oceanic’s 1–0 win versus Shawinigan and the red-hot goalie Marvin Cupper. The German goalie was named the goalie of the month for September and he’s only let in three goals in two games this month. As if Rimouski weren’t scary enough, behemoth defenceman Samuel Morin is back with the club after being sent home by the Philadelphia Flyers on the last day of training camp. He had assists in the two games he’s played since his return.

Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts will be without Anthony Duclair for a while longer, possibly all season, after he made the New York Rangers roster. His agent Philippe Lecavalier told La Presse the news on Sunday night. The news still isn’t official, and the Rangers will need to dump a contract in order to sign the rookie. Duclair landed the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award given to the best rookie at Rangers camp. Defenceman Nikolas Brouillard scored his first goal of the season in overtime Sunday when the Remparts beat the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. Brouillard had 61 points last season and 57 the year before. He received an invite to the Winnipeg Jets camp this season and to the San Jose Sharks camp last season, but hasn’t been able to stick in the big leagues.

West Division

They only lost by a goal in both games this week, but a loss is a loss, and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada need all the points they can get. The Armada were keeping pace with powerhouse Rimouski on Saturday but lost 4–3 in the end. On Sunday, they led the Victoriaville Tigres 2–1 through 20 minutes, but then the Tigres scored two unanswered goals to win 3–2. Centre Danick Martel has points in five consecutive games. Now in his third season, Martel has been a great investment for the Armada. The undrafted forward was a training camp invitee in 2011.

A swing through the Maritimes saw the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies do their best Jekyll-Hyde impression. Goaltender Alexandre Bélanger—the 200th pick of the 2013 draft by the Minnesota Wild—turned away 17 shots as they blanked the Mooseheads 5–0 on Thursday. The next night he let in five goals as Moncton erased two Rouyn-Noranda leads, including three unanswered goals in the third, in a 6–4 loss. Saturday was their third game in three nights, but the Huskies dominated the Charlottetown Islanders en route to a 7–0 shutout. Huskies goalie Samuel Harvey had his first shutout in the Q with 30 saves, while captain Ryan Penny had a hat trick.

Another day, another assist. Sherbrooke’s Kay Schweri had five assists this week, including three versus Rimouski on Sunday. The small Swiss right winger now has assists in six consecutive games for 18 on the season. He’s the top rookie scorer with 19 points and is fourth in overall league scoring.

Val-d’Or forward Nicolas Aubé-Kubel was returned by the Philadelphia Flyers but signed an entry-level contract with the big club. He was drafted 48th overall this past June. Aubé-Kubel knows how to turn on the jets and go end to end with the puck. Without Anthony Mantha this season, Aubé-Kubel is the most exciting player to watch on the Foreurs. On the year, he has four goals and four assists in six games. Last season, he finished with 53 points in 65 games. Look for him to be a point-per-game player this season.

Three stars of the week

Philippe Cadorette, G, Baie Comeau Drakkar Cadorette turned in two great performances on the road, backstopping his team to two wins. On Saturday, Drummondville shot 40 pucks his way but only found the back of the net twice. His 1.92 GAA and .944 save percentage in October are much better than his September numbers of 3.56 GAA and .885 save percentage.

Ryan Penny, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies The second star of the week also was impressive on the road, getting better with each game. Thursday he scored a goal, Friday he scored twice and finally had a hat trick against Charlottetown on Saturday.

Frédéric Allard, D, Chicoutimi Saguenéens Allard scored his first goal of the season versus Gatineau on Friday and had a pair of assists on both Friday and Sunday. Allard was a first-round pick by the Saguenéens and put up 23 points in his rookie season.

2016 NHL Draft Prospect Watch

We interrupt our regular 2015 prospect watch to look even further into the future at the 2016 NHL draft. This week, the rosters for the Canadian national teams at the World Under-17 tournament were named. From 1986 until this year, the tournament featured five regional Canadian teams. This year there will only be three streamlined teams—black, red and white—not tied to geographic locations. It’s a great chance to look ahead to players who will be drafted two years down the road and is a great place for players to impress scouts. This year 19 QMJHL players are headed to the tournament in Sarnia, Ont., taking place Oct. 31–Nov. 8. Blainville-Boisbriand leads the way with three players—forwards Miguel Picard, Tyler Hylland and Alexander Katerinakis—being named to the Team Canada’s rosters. The new format brings balance to Canadian rosters, but make it difficult to decide who to cheer for. Pick your favourite colour I guess?

Here’s the full breakdown:

Team Canada Black

Reilly Pickard, G, Baie-Comeau Drakkar

Samuel Girard, D, Shawinigan Cataractes

Jacob Neveau, D, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

Pascal Laberge, F, Gatineau Olympiques

Félix Lauzon, F, Victoriaville Tigres

Lucas Thierus, F, Sherbrooke Phoenix

Team Canada Red

Evan Fitzpatrick, G, Sherbrooke Phoenix

Guillaume Beck, D, Victoriaville Tigres

Thomas Gregoire, D, Sherbrooke Phoenix

Samuel Guilbault, F, Charlottetown Islanders

Tyler Hylland, F, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada

Miguel Picard, F, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada

Team Canada White

Samuel Harvey, G, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

Gabriel Bilodeau, D, Val-d’Or Foreurs

Luke Green, D, Saint John Sea Dogs

Alexander Katerinakis, F, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada

Jordan Maher, F, Acadie-Bathurst Titan

Hunter Moreau, F, Rimouski Oceanic

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.