HockeyProspect.com has released our Quebec 70-player watchlist ahead of the 2021 QMJHL Draft. Our QMJHL Draft scouting group has been working since the month of August to cover the 2005-born crop of Quebec prospects, that saw action earlier this year when their pre-season was underway, from the month of August, up until the month of November, depending on restrictions in their respective regions.
The pre-season hockey that was played earlier this year, however, had a little bit of a different look than what you’d be used to. Three ten-minute periods, two teams of ten skaters and one goalie (two forward lines and two defence pairings). On top of that, no contact was allowed in these games, as any hit would result in a penalty, all this in an effort to contain any COVID outbreak during the games.
HockeyProspect scouts were allowed to attend the first few weeks of pre-season, until the arena doors were closed in another attempt to limit any COVID outbreak, which still didn’t stop our scouts from watching countless hours of tape and allowing us to put together this list, not only to use as a tool for once the regular season starts, whenever that may be, but also for our users to study ahead of this upcoming season and eventual 2021 QMJHL Draft.
The 70 players appearing on this list are broken into four groups: A-prospects (projected first rounders), B-prospects (projected second or third rounders), C-prospects (projected fourth to seventh rounders), with a small group of C+ players that separated themselves from the pack of C-prospects.
Top players that were recognized by our scouts during this first portion of the year were names you will find on our list (in no particular order) such as centremen Ethan Gauthier from the Magog Cantonniers, Mathieu Cataford, from the College Charles-Lemoyne Riverains and Vincent Collard, from the Jonquiere Elites. Gauthier, the son of ex-NHLer Denis Gauthier, is a player that has great hockey IQ on top of very good skill and elusiveness, who also plays a responsible 200-foot game. Cataford and Collard were also impressive, notably thanks to their skating (especially Cataford), size and goal scoring ability. On defence, scouts liked the game of Tristan Dassylva, from the College Notre-Dame Albatros, Isaac Fecteau, from the Culver Academy Eagles (USA) and Beck Majdell, from the Laval-Montreal Rousseau Royal, among others. All three mentioned are defencemen who skate very well and who can play both sides of the ice, but their offensive play obviously stood out for them to be rated as A-prospects. It is difficult to single out players at this time, but these names were all players that were very much appreciated in all scouting meetings and conversations between our staff.
The HockeyProspect QMJHL Draft Quebec based scouts did their homework, which led to this watchlist. It is an early watchlist, as mentioned, but it is one that was put together with hard work and attention to detail. Grading this crop of 2005-born players has been a fun challenge, but by the next time we release a QMJHL Draft list, we hope that it will be based off of regular season action. Not for our own sake, as we will always be able to scout, whether it is from the rink or from our homes thanks to the magic of video scouting, but for the sake of these young players who are just itching to get back out there, playing the game they love.
Rachel Halliwell speaks with HP Scout, Alex Pilote.
Some quick notes on a few players…
Isaac Fecteau – D – Culver Academy Eagles
Isaac Fecteau is an offensive defenceman from Trois-Rivières playing in Indiana for the Culver Academy Eagles who possesses great tools and attributes that he uses to his advantage. He is a gifted skater that loves to skate with the puck and who can skate it out himself as a one-man breakout. Fecteau is always very eager to join the rush as a fourth-forward type of defenceman. He also has forward-type skill and can sometimes be aggressive offensively, but you will always see him use his great skating ability to be the first man back after a rush. He is a creative puckhandler, has a good first pass and good vision. Defensively, he works hard in his own zone and is strong physically, which he uses to his advantage in the corners and in the front of the net. Fecteau is a player who projects to be a great offensive defenceman, but his tools and attributes make him a prospect to follow for the 2021 QMJHL Draft.
Ethan Gauthier – C – Magog Cantonniers
Ethan Gauthier is the son of former NHLer Denis Gauthier, and the NHL bloodlines show in his game. He is a smart player with great vision who commands the middle of the ice with his presence. Gauthier is always aware of his surroundings every time he is on the ice, which makes him a good two-way player. His defensive game is impressive, but what is most impressive about him is his vision with and without the puck. His ability to read the play allow him to always be two steps ahead of everyone else. He is a good stickhandler, but his passing ability obviously stands out, as he always finds the open man and executes with crisp, solid, tape to tape passes. As a skater, he is elusive and can create his own space on the ice and his vision allows him to recognize the open space. Gauthier has a lot of maturity to his game and already has a pro-type feel to the way he plays. He works hard and works smart when he is out on the ice. He was an obvious standout during the pre-season games, and he will be a player that we will have a close eye on for the rest of the season.
Cristiano Spadafora – C – Laval-Montreal Rousseau Royal
Rated a B-prospect on our list, Spadafora is a player that we loved watching in every viewing we had of him. Standing at 5’07’’, he obviously isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but he plays a lot bigger than he looks. His effort level was always very high, as he is a hard worker and a relentless player who has a lot of speed to his game. His intensity made him a pain to play against and he brought it every single shift. Not only does Spadafora play with only one gear, but he is also a player that possesses a lot of skill and who can make plays whenever the puck is on his stick. He plays a fast and fearless game and wasn’t afraid to go to the net. It was tough to fully evaluate his game without contact, but he did not shy away from the dirty areas. All those aspects of his game make him a player that is tough to play against, and although he is a B-rated prospect on this list, the door is open for him to rise throughout the season once it gets going.
The full article and 70 player watch list is linked here.
Platinum Podcast (Aprox 45 minutes) is linked here.