Skip to main content

QMJHL looks to rebound as top NHL pipeline

by Adam Kimelman
In the four drafts since the Pittsburgh Penguins chose Rimouski Oceanic center Sidney Crosby with the first pick, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League hasn't produced a lot of top-level talent.

And the best prospect for the 2010 Entry Draft that might play in the Q this season has yet to see the ice. Russian forward Kirill Kabanov is trying to get his release from Russian club Salavat Ufa to play with the Moncton Wildcats, who drafted him seventh in the CHL Import Draft this summer. As of yet, though, there's been no resolution from the International Ice Hockey Federation, which is arbitrating the dispute.

Kabanov has top-end offensive skills and has been compared by some scouts to Atlanta Thrashers captain Ilya Kovalchuk.

The 2008 Entry Draft saw zero first-round picks from the QMJHL, the first time that had happened since 2000. In the first round of the 2009 draft there were four players picked from the league, and that number could rise in 2010 thanks to the current crop of players.

Stanislav Galiev -- The Russian-born forward left Russia a year ago, spending last season in the USHL, where was the seventh-leading scorer in the league with 29 goals and 64 points. The Saint John Sea Dogs traded with Halifax to grab him with the first pick of the 2009 CHL Import Draft in July, and so far the move seems to have worked.

The 6-foot, 177-pound left wing has 7 points and a plus-5 rating in his first 10 games with the Sea Dogs.

"He's got some skills," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau told "Good skater, he's got good size, he's involved. Good offensive skills. ... I think he's going to be a pretty good kid."

Brandon Gormley --
The 6-2, 187-pound defenseman had 27 points in 62 games for the Moncton Wildcats last season and earned a spot on the league all-rookie team. He followed that with an outstanding showing for Canada at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August, with 3 goals and 5 points in four games.

Moncton coach Danny Flynn said Gormley's cerebral play and all-round ability reminds him of Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

"He's got a good shot from the point, an accurate shot, low and can be deflected," Bordeleau said. "His puckhandling skills are pretty good."

Samuel Carrier -- The 6-foot, 186-pound defenseman has 4 points and a plus-5 rating in six games with the Lewiston MAINEiacs.

"He's got a pretty good head, knows the game," said Bordeleau. "He'll be a good prospect."

Carrier started last season with the Quebec Remparts, but was sent to Lewiston in exchange for NHL draft picks Danick Paquette and Peter Delmas. Quebec needed those players to make a QMJHL title run, but had to surrender a quality player to get them.

"In order to trade for Paquette and Peter Delmas, they had to give up somebody," Bordeleau said. "He really thinks the game well, has a good hockey head. He knows what he's doing out there, he can handle the puck. He's going to be a pretty good player."

Guillaume Asselin -- One of the youngest draft-eligible players -- he makes the cut by a week -- Asselin has the skills to make him a player worth watching. Through his first nine games, the Montreal Juniors right wing has 6 goals and 13 points.

As a QMJHL rookie last season, the 5-10 1/2, 185-pounder was fourth on his team with 18 goals and 37 points, and he added 6 points in 10 playoff games.

"He's got very good hands and puck skills," said Bordeleau. "He's a very smart playmaker."

Louis-Marc Aubry --
The Montreal Juniors center hit a major growth spurt over the summer, sprouting to 6-3 and 190 pounds. His large package of skills fits his growing body, as he has 8 assists and 9 points in his first nine games.

"He's got size, good hands, on the power play he's pretty effective," Bordeleau said. "Good shot, knows where the net is. He has good offensive ability."

Aubry's strong start stands in stark contrast to last season, when he had 9 points in his first 37 games, but finished with 7 goals and 13 points in his final 28, topped by a 4-goal, 5-point game on the last night of the regular season.

Aubry also has NHL bloodlines -- his father, Pierre, played parts of five seasons with the Quebec Nordiques and Detroit Red Wings in the early 1980s.

Michael Bournival -- The Shawinigan Cataractes center has followed a strong end to last season with a strong start in 2009-10. After ending last season with 9 goals and 17 points in his final 25 games, he has 5 goals and 11 points in his first seven games this season.

Bournival also was the only draft-eligible QMJHL forward to make Canada's Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

"He's a good player," Bordeleau said. "His skating is good. ... . The last couple games he was involved more, skating, got some points. He's got skills."

Maxime Clermont -- The 6-foot, 189-pound is in his second season starting for the Gatineau Olympiques. In nine games this season, Clermont is 7-2-0 with a 2.02 GAA and he's guided Gatineau to an early spot atop the league standings.

Last season, he backstopped Gatineau to the Western Division title and the second round of the playoffs, going 25-20-0 with a 3.22 GAA.

"He's got good size, athletic, good goalie instincts, quick," NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen told "He's got quick reflexes, good positioning. Sometimes if he gets in trouble he'll sit too far back in the paint, but he's capable of making the big saves.

Louis Domingue -- In his first season as the uncontested starter in Moncton, Domingue is 3-3-0 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. Last season, he backed up league MVP Nicola Riopel; he played just 12 games, but he led all first-year goalies who played at least 10 games with a 2.51 GAA and .924 save percentage.

Domingue also earned a spot on Canada's roster for the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament this summer. He posted a pair of wins there -- a shutout against the Czech Republic in the final round-robin game, and a win in the gold-medal match.

At 6-2 1/2 and 185 pounds, he certainly fills up the net.

Maxim Lamarche -- The Victoriaville Tigres defenseman packs a nice amount of offensive skill into a 6-1, 185-pound package.

"He's a big guy, he's got skills, can go with the puck," Bordeleau said of Lamarche, who has 2 points in his first 10 games. "To me, that's what hockey players are supposed to do -- take the puck and do something with it. He's got offensive skills and that's what you want to see."

Cedrick Henley -- The Val d'Or Foreurs left wing is an imposing 6-foot-4 1/2 and 195 pounds, and looks to build off a rookie season which saw him score 7 goals and 19 points in 61 games.

"He's a big kid -- there's potential there," Bordeleau told "He's a guy that with great size. He was a good skater, he can play tough. The best is yet to come for a kid like that."

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc -- The 6-foot, 180-pound Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defenseman is off to a strong start, with 7 points and a plus-4 rating in his first 11 games.

"He's a very skilled guy," Bordeleau said. "This kid has offensive skills. ... He's got size and he'll have to work on the defensive aspects of the game, sometimes he throws caution to the wind and forgets what position he plays. But that's what you want to see from a hockey player -- take the puck and go."

Gabriel Levesque -- The Rouyn-Noranda center isn't big in stature (5-8, 155), but he certainly is posting big offensive numbers so far. Through 10 games, Levesque has 6 goals and 17 points.

"He's a fun kid to watch," said Bordeleau. "He's a decent skater, energy-type guy."

Denis Kindl -- The younger brother of Red Wings prospect Jakub Kindl is spending his first season in North America with Gatineau after playing two seasons in the Czech junior leagues. The 5-10 1/4, 174-pound center leads the league's rookie scorers with 12 points in his first 10 games.

"He's got good hands, got a real good stride," Bordeleau said. "Like (Edmonton's Ales) Hemsky, but not as quick. He's got something of him that reminds me of Hemsky."

Jakub Culek -- The Rimouski Oceanic forward also is having a nice debut season in North America, with 4 goals and 12 points in his first 10 games.

"He's a pretty good player," Bordeleau said. "He stood out quite a bit. ... Great hands, he can really pass the puck well, he's got size (6-3, 175), he's involved. He's pretty good."

Contact Adam Kimelman at
View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.