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Brisebois doing it all

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks put pen to paper with Guillaume Brisebois recently, inking the workhorse defenceman to a three-year entry-level contract.

The 18-year-old has posted 13 points (5-8-13) in 30 games so far this season with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

“He came to the office to sign his contract and I tried to play a joke on him,” laughed Titan general manager Sylvain Couturier, whose son, Sean, currently plays for the Philadelphia Flyers. “I gave him a Flyers pen to sign his contract with and he didn’t want to use that pen at all. He said ‘I am not touching that.’ He was really proud to sign with the Canucks.”

It’s the stats that many look at to judge a player, especially in the junior ranks. Having just 13 points in 30 games doesn’t seem great, especially for a player drafted in the third round (66th overall, 2015). But Brisebois hasn’t had it easy. The Titan have won just 51 of their past 170 games and currently ice a team with 10 players playing in their 16 or 17-year-old season.

“He is a really steady two-way defenceman,” said Couturier. “His stats with us aren’t the best, but we are not having the best season and in the last three years we have been in a rebuilding process. He has taking on a lot of responsibility for us since he came here at 16, playing against the other team’s top line. We are really happy with what he brings to the table.

“He has been put in tough situations and given tough assignments for a young player, but he always answers the challenge. I think this has been good for him. He is playing 25 minutes a night, so there is a lot of ice time there for him, but at the same time, those are tough minutes he’s playing going up against the best players in the QMJHL night after night.”

Not only is Brisebois tasked with holding down the fort on the blue line, he is also the team leader, being named captain at the young age of 17, something that doesn’t happen often in junior hockey.

“He is a lead by example kind of guy,” said Couturier. “He works hard, he trains like a pro, he acts like a pro and I think that is his biggest asset. It’s not what he says or how he says it, it’s more the way he acts and presents himself to the team, especially to the younger guys.”

Being a 1997-born player, Brisebois will be back in the QMJHL during the 2016-17 season, where he will continue to develop before turning pro in a few years’ time. Couturier believes the Canucks have a good one in their system.

“I think he will be a really good two-way defenceman,” said Couturier. “He has all the qualities and all the tools to be one of those puck-moving defenceman that jumps up in the play. He will bring more offence than people might expect. He is really proud of his defensive game, which is something he can always rely on. By the time he turns pro he should be around 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, 205-pounds. I think he will have the size and skating to be a very good pro player.

“He is such a good skater and smart hockey player. He moves the puck well and is good one-on-one. He does it all. You really can’t judge his performance based on his statistics.”

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