2017 QMJHL Draft: First Round Mock Draft
The QMJHL Draft is the arguably the most important day on the calendar of any Quebec League franchise. The road to the Memorial cup is paved on draft day and this in Saint John, New Brunswick 18 teams will try to follow in the host Sea Dogs footsteps, building a championship squad through solid scouting, and drafting at the 2017 edition of the league’s entry draft.
Below is a look at how the first round of Saturday’s draft may shake out. These selections are based on a combination of best player available, and how a player fits into a team’s existing structure. Of course by the end of the day, a handful of these picks will change hands in a flurry of wheeling and dealing , but we’re just going to pretend that won’t happen in this case!
With all that said, let’s take a look at our first round selections.
1 – Rimouski Oceanic – Alexis Lafreniere – Center (L) – St-Eustache Vikings (QMAAA)
This isn’t a difficult pick to make, Lafreniere is the consensus #1 pick, the 6 foot, 170 pound center is as close to a sure-fire franchise player as you can get. He dominated Quebec Major Midget with 83 points in 36 games, he’s everything you want in a player. He’s big, immensely skilled, with outstanding skating and IQ. He makes everyone around him better with his play-making ability. Lafreniere is the strongest prospect out of Quebec in a long time, and should put the Oceanic on the fast track to icing another contender.
2 – Sherbrooke Phoenix – Samuel Poulin – Center (L) – College Esther-Blondin Phoenix (QMAAA)
Poulin is would be a candidate for 1st overall in many other years. Another 6 foot center, he’s a skilled center with speed, skill and power. He’s got a great release and a physical element to his game as well. He has all the tools to come in and be an impact player immediately for the Phoenix, where his brother Nicolas played for the past 3 seasons. I suspect Sherbrooke will be more than happy to keep the their franchise in the Poulin family.
3- Moncton Wildcats – Jakob Pelletier – Center (L) – Seminaire St-Francois Blizzard (QMAAA)
A bit smaller than the previous two picks at 5’8, Pelletier still brings high-end speed and skill to the table. He proved he’s a big-game player on the road to the Telus cup, he performs in key situations and scores clutch goals, and if there’s anything the Wildcats need right now, it’s a player who doesn’t like to lose. Jakob Pelletier is not only often the most skilled player on the ice, but also the hardest worker. He’s a winner and Wildcats fans should be excited for him.
4- Halifax Mooseheads – Alex Newhook – RW (R) – York-Simcoe Express (ETAMMHL)
Newhook is the wildcard of the draft, the Newfoundland native left home to find better competition in Ontario, and is a Boston College commit. He’s one of the most complete players in the draft, a skilled player and born leader who can play a 200-foot game; Newhook is another potential franchise player . He put up impressive numbers in the ETAMMHL, and is actually 3rd all-time in points per game in that league, behind only Taylor Hall and Steven Stamkos. If any team could get Newhook to report to the Q, it would be the Mooseheads.
5- Val-d’Or Foreurs – Xavier Parent – Center / RW (R) – College Esther-Blondin Phoenix (QMAAA)
This is a player who has had the eyes of the hockey world on him since he was 10 years old. From YouTube sensation to top prospect, Xavier Parent oozes skill and creativity. He’s a diminutive dynamo at only 5’8, 157, but his skating, acceleration, skill and his willingness to compete in hard areas should make him an exceptional point producer at the QMJHL level. Parent is an exciting player, and should be worth the price of admission when he comes to your town.
6 – Baie-Comeau Drakkar – Justin Barron – Defense (R) – Halifax McDonalds (NSMMHL)
Justin Barron, brother to former Sea Dogs pick Morgan Barron, a Cornell University commit, is also a threat to take the NCAA route and head south to the states instead of playing in the QMJHL. That being said, Drakkar General Manager Steve Ahern has never been shy about picking the best player available, and Justin Barron is the best defenceman available in this draft. A 6’1 horse for the Halifax Macs this season, Barron plays big minutes, he’s an elite skater with high-end IQ and a physical edge. He has all the makings of a #1 defenceman, and the Drakkar will work hard to get him to report, or flip him to the highest bidder.
7 – Drummondville Voltigeurs – Jeremy Jacques – Defense (R) – Magog Cantonniers (QMAAA)
Jacques is a close second when it comes to best defenceman available in the draft. A 6’2 body who can skate and plays with skill and smarts. He could be the Quarterback for the Volt’s powerplay for years to come, and that kind of right-handed defenceman is as good as gold to any QMJHL franchise.
8 – Drummondville Voltigeurs – Bailey Peach – LW (L) – Cole Harbour Wolfpack (NSMMHL)
Picking back-to-back, Drummondville should look to add some skill up front after securing the blue line, and if you’re looking for skill, few are better than Bailey Peach. The lightning-fast winger is a treat to watch, he has ridiculous puck skills and executes with precision, even at high speeds. Peach has an elite release, and should score many, many goals in his Q career, and should make for many electric nights at the Centre Marcel Dionne.
9 – Baie Comeau Drakkar – Nathan Legare – LW (L) – St-Eustache Vikings (QMAAA)
After ceding the floor to the Voltigeurs for 2 selections, the Drakkar will have another shot at the stage, should be very happy to see Nathan Legare still on the board. A hard-working, skilled power forward with a physical edge, Legare has exactly the kind of DNA the Drakkar love to build their teams on. Legare will be another player who makes playing against the Drakkar a miserable experience for the opposition.
10 – Rimouski Oceanic – Maxence Guenette – Defense (R) – Levis Commandeurs (QMAAA)
Another pick for the Rimouski Oceanic, and a good chance for them to shore up the back-end with Maxence Guenette. Guenette had an outstanding post-season with Levis, helping to lead his team to the championship round. His mix of skating and his ability to distribute the puck makes him a player who should have an immediate impact at the QMJHL level.
11 – Sherbrooke Phoenix – Jaxon Bellamy – Defense (R) – Saint John Vitos (NBPEIMMHL)
Sherbrooke has shown a liking for Maritime players, and there’s no reason not to like the monstrous Jaxon Bellamy. Almost 6’4, Bellamy is an effortless skater, which is rare for a big man. His skill set is very raw, but with some polish, he could be an elite defenceman in the QMJHL.
12 – Rimouski Oceanic – Dawson Mercer – LW (L) – Bishops College (PSHF)
Mercer is another Newfoundland kid who left home to find greater competition. He wore the “C” for his province at the Gatorade challenge, and had a great tournament which put him high on a lot of teams radars. The Bantam star seems to have progressed into a complete player, lightning quick and a high hockey IQ should make him a force in the QMJHL.
13 – Acadie-Bathurst Titan – Christopher Merisier-Ortiz – Defense (L) – St-Eustache Vikings (QMAAA)
The Titan would be very happy to see Merisier-Ortiz still on the board at 13, a quick-skating offensive defenseman who likes to rush the puck and is capable of threading a needle with a quick pass. While not the biggest defenseman in the draft at 5’10, he’s strong on his skates and can be a powerplay quarterback at the major jr. level.
14 – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – Mathieu Bizier – LW (L) – Levis Commandeurs (QMAAA)
A hair under 6’0, Mathieu Bizier is the type of player who would look very good in the black and gold of the Screaming Eagles. He shot up the rankings in the second half with increased ice time, he’s a power forward who plays hard and fast in traffic. Eagles fans will love the heart and guts he plays with, he’ll take a hit to complete a play, and will cut to the net to generate offence. His size and compete should make him able to jump right in and contribute next year, and will likely quickly become a fan-favourite.
15 – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – Noah Laaouan – Defense (R) – Dartmouth Steele Subaru (NSMMHL)
In one word: Smart. Noah Laaouan was a horse for the Steele Subaru, he may have the highest IQ of any defenceman in the draft. He’s a 200-foot defenceman with some big-game flare, while not as explosive or flashy as some of the other defencemen on this list, he has top-pairing potential for sure. Eagles have need of right-shooting defenceman in the system, Laaouan seems like a great fit here.
16 – Moncton Wildcats – Sean Larochelle – Defense (R) – College Antoine-Girouard Gaulois (QMAAA)
Larochelle is an puck-carrying defenceman who should bring much-needed skill to the Wildcats lineup. He’s the type of defenceman who likes to handle the puck and deke defenders out with fancy spinoramas and stick work, a risk taker who will need polished, but he should find all the ice time he needs in Moncton.
17 – Val-d’Or Foreurs – Jonathan Lemieux – Goaltender – College Antoine-Girouard Gaulois (QMAAA)
The first goaltender taken in the draft, the Foreurs need a young goaltender to succeed Montpetit in the seasons to come. Lemieux shone at the Gatorade challenge, the athletic goaltender with all the potential to be a #1 in the QMJHL for years to come.
18 – Quebec Remparts – Arlo Merritt – LW (L) – Kimball Union Academy (USHS)
Former Halifax Hawks star in bantam, he went south to play in the US this year. Merritt is a bit raw, but he’s got size and skill and could be a good project player for the Remparts. A good finisher who can really score if he’s in the right position on the ice.
19 – Blainville-Boisbriand Armada – Ryan Francis – Center (L) – Cole Harbour Wolfpack (NSMMHL)
Ryan Francis is a player I can’t see falling out of the first round. It’s easy to fall in love with his game, although he’s a hair under 5’7, his speed, skill and vision as well as his compete level make him an exciting an effective player. Tho small, he can roll off a hit and make a play, he’s a playmaker first, but can really shoot the puck as well. Francis would be an excellent selection for the Armada at 19. But perhaps a better selection for Drummondville at 20, who could re-unite him with his winger Bailey Peach.