Meet The Draft Eligibles: Antoine Morand
Today I was able to chat with QMJHL Central Scouting’s number two ranked player, Antoine Morand of the Chateauguay Grenadiers for another “Meet The Draft Eligibles” feature.
The 16-year-old from Mercier, Quebec was second in team scoring with 55 points in 41 games this season, one point behind Maxime Comtois. Morand was also a big part of his team’s Jimmy-Ferrari Cup win as well as their journey to the Telus Cup final.
I’d like to thank Antoine for agreeing to do the interview in english despite french being his first language.
Read the full interview below:
What would it mean to be selected 1st overall at the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft?
I think it’s always an honour to be drafted first overall. If you look at the previous 1st overall picks in the past they all had great junior careers so it’s very special. But how high you’re drafted doesn’t mean that much. The effort you give at training camp and during your junior career is more important than being drafted first overall.
You helped the Grenadiers de Chateauguay win the LHMAAAQ Championship this season and advanced all the way to the Telus Cup final. How has that experience helped you develop as a player?
Obviously the more you play in big moments like the Telus Cup, the more it helps you gain some experience because It’s a lot of pressure to be part of a national championship. This year was also my first playoff experience and it was a good test to see if I can perform with many games in a short amount of time.
Describe your style of play and how that will translate over to the QMJHL?
I’m a player with a great hockey sense and a lot of speed. I can create a lot of offense and also be responsible in my defensive zone. Now hockey is more based on speed and hockey sense, I know am not a very big player so I will continue to use my speed and my vision to help me in my career.
What are your goals and things you’d like to work on going into your first training camp in September?
My goal is to play major junior next year and for that I want to gain some weight in the gym and continue to gain some speed. I want to be stronger and continue to develop my individual skill.
What can you bring to a QMJHL team looking to draft you?
I can bring a lot of speed and energy on the ice. I can also bring a lot of offense. I’m a trustworthy player who can play in every situation.
Many scouts say your work ethic and speed are what makes you stand out. Is there any part of your game you think you could improve on?
My physical aspect is the part of my game I want to improve, be stronger and win all my one-on-one battles because I know the junior players are bigger and stronger.
Which NHL player would you compare yourself to?
I don’t like to compare myself with a NHL player, I like to have a role model like Jonathan Toews who is one of the best complete players in the league. I look at what he does and the plays he makes on the ice.
You’ve played for Team Quebec at the Canada Games, competed in the Telus Cup and won the league title this season. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I think the Telus Cup and the Canada Games were my two career highlights, but the Canada Games was very special because you’re representing your province and competing with many athletes from other province. Being on my own with a new coach and new group of players was a great experience, and competing with the player you play against this season was special because now you need to fight with them and not against them. I made myself some new friends and I think this experience will stay in my mind forever.
You and teammate Maxime Comtois were the Grenadiers top two scorers this season and you now head into the draft as the top two ranked players. Are you looking forward to sharing your draft day moments with a teammate?
We’ve been good friend since we’ve known each other so we’ll definitely take the moment to enjoy this day together. He is a great friend for me and it will be a special day for us.
What are your thoughts heading into the draft on Saturday?
I don’t really know where I will go but I think the teams who have the top five picks in the draft are all good organizations so I don’t really care which team drafts me. I just want to have my jersey and know where i’m going. No matter which team it is, I will be very happy and i’m excited to prove what I can do at training camp.
Photo Credit: Kathy Kocur