Prospect expert Ryan Kennedy consulted with a gang of insiders to bring you power rankings for every team in the circuit, plus a player to watch on each squad for the upcoming season.
The Quebec League is the first of the CHL’s three circuits to enter regular season play and festivities officially kick off on Wednesday when Rouyn-Noranda visits the defending champions from Val-d’Or. But there is always a lot of turnover in junior and the Foreurs would be a big surprise to repeat. Who will represent the ‘Q’ at the Memorial Cup this year? One team will be the host Quebec Remparts, but another slot is up for grabs. I consulted with a crew of experts from the region to put together power rankings for the league, then added one name to know for each team:
1. Rimouski Oceanic – One to watch: Towering and intimidating defenseman Samuel Morin was a Philadelphia Flyers’ first-rounder in 2013.
2. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – Draft-eligible import Evgeny Svechnikov is a big and talented Russian winger.
3. Gatineau Olympiques – Draft-eligible defenseman Alexandre Carrier has nice mobility and put up decent offensive totals last season.
4. Quebec Remparts – Speedy and skilled Anthony Duclair is a New York Rangers pick who will do great damage for the Memorial Cup hosts.
5. Chicoutimi Sagueneens – Draft-eligible center Nicolas Roy has great size at 6-foot-4, 202 pounds, plus he moves well and has a great mind for the game.
6. Halifax Mooseheads – Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Nikolaj Ehlers won’t likely have Jonathan Drouin around, so the offensively gifted Dane will be front and center now.
7. Charlottetown Islanders – Draft-eligible right winger Daniel Sprong is an offensive wizard who plays with drive and is a rare prospect: He was born and raised in Amsterdam.
8. Moncton Wildcats – St. Louis Blues second-rounder Ivan Barbashev is back with his physical, 200-foot game and playmaking prowess.
9. Baie-Comeau Drakkar – Montreal Canadiens prospect Jeremy Gregoire is a dogged and determined right winger who can put points on the board.
10. Sherbrooke Phoenix – Draft-eligible defenseman Jeremy Roy plays a two-way game and won gold with Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament this summer.
11. Shawinigan Cataractes – Draft-eligible left winger Dennis Yan is a Russian import by way of Portland, Ore. He’s a smart offensive player who can really light it up.
12. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada – New York Rangers pick Daniel Walcott is a late-bloomer defenseman who holds his own at both ends of the ice.
13. Val-d’Or Foreurs – Philadelphia Flyers pick Nicolas Aube-Kubel is a talented, driven right winger who will take over the top-line spot abdicated by Anthony Mantha.
14. Acadie-Bathurst Titan – Draft-eligible defenseman Guillaume Brisebois has a lot of upside thanks to his 6-foot-2 frame, his mobility and puck skills.
15. Saint John Sea Dogs – Draft-eligible blueliner Jakub Zboril is big, smart and can do a lot on the ice. He helped the Czechs to silver at the Ivan Hlinka tourney.
16. Victoriaville Tigres – Arizona Coyotes prospect Pavel Laplante plays physical and can put the puck in the net from the left wing.
17. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – Ottawa Senators pick Francis Perron is a talented left winger on the rise who can quarterback a power play.
18. Drummondville Voltigeurs – Draft-eligible center Alex Barre-Boulet is a pint-sized prospect who tore up the pre-season for the Volts.