The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs made a big and bold pick in the first round of the league’s draft last Saturday when they chose Joshua Lawrence 15th overall. It was big because Lawrence was regarded by many as one of the top prospects available this year — he was ranked sixth overall and the No. 1 prospect from the Maritimes by QMJHL Central Scouting. And it was bold because Lawrence had already committed to play at Boston University next season.
Today the Sea Dogs’ pick is paying off, as the highly skilled centre switched gears and announced his intention is now to join the QMJHL team next season.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to play for the Sea Dogs,” Lawrence said in a team press release. “They have great coaches, great management, and they have a history of being one of the best major junior programs in Canada.”
Lawrence, 16, played for the Selects Hockey Academy in the United States last season, scoring 83 points in 49 games. Had he not previously committed to BU, it’s believed Lawrence would have been drafted earlier than 15th. He is a native of Fredericton, N.B.
“We are thrilled to have Josh and his family join our Sea Dogs family,” team president and GM Trevor Georgie said in the release. “He is a franchise centre. He is an elite offensive talent. He is a local rising star who has decided to commit to us, to his home province, and to the best developmental league in the world – the Canadian Hockey League.”
The Sea Dogs picked three times in the first round of the draft, with Lawrence being their final selection. Their other two selections, William Villeneuve and Jeremie Poirier, were picked second and eighth overall respectively, and were the top two ranked defenceman available in the draft.
“We are demonstrating our ability to attract and retain elite talent north of the border. We are very pleased with Josh’s decision and his commitment he has made to us,” Georgie said.