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Ducks' draft pick Morand looking for rare championship repeat in QMJHL

Capturing the Memorial Cup is difficult. Going back-to-back with different teams almost never happens. But that's what Antoine Morand is aiming for.
Antoine Morand ANA

For many teams in the QMJHL, the attitude seems to be that if you’re not going to win a championship, you might as well tear down and rebuild. That’s just the way they roll. And so it was when the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, coming off a Memorial Cup triumph, made six trades on the day of the QMJHL draft, one of which was to send Antoine Morand and another player to the Halifax Mooseheads for a boatload of draft picks.


With the Mooseheads hosting the Memorial Cup this season, Morand has the rare opportunity to win successive major junior championships with two different teams. Whether Halifax can accomplish the feat will have a lot to do with Morand, an undersized playmaking center who relies on his head for success every bit as much as his hands and his feet. “When I was younger, I was not the fastest or the biggest or the strongest guy,” said the Anaheim Ducks’ second-round pick from 2017. “My brain was my main attribute. I need to use it to make my game better. When I was younger, I was always a player who would pass the puck first, and I’ve always played with a lot of shooters. They always wanted the puck, and I was like, ‘All right.’ I didn’t mind not scoring.”

Like one of his favorite players, Jonathan Toews, Morand aspires to be the kind of thinking player who plays an effective 200-foot game. To do that, the 5-foot-10 pivot needs to get stronger to handle the matchups at the NHL level.

This is obviously a big year for Morand. Not only does he have a chance to win another Memorial Cup, he’s shooting for a spot on the Canadian team for the World Junior Championship, something that’s eluded him to this point. “They invited me to the summer camp for a reason, because they like what they see,” Morand said. “As a 19-year-old, I want to be a leader and be a dominant player. It’s my last chance to play in the world juniors, so for sure it’s a goal I want to achieve.”


This story appears in the Prospects Unlimited 2018 issue of The Hockey News magazine.


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