Three skaters given an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2018 NHL Draft are among the 24 playing for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the 2017 Canada Russia Series.
The games will be played at Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on Nov. 14, and at Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, on Nov. 16.
Halifax left wing Benoit-Olivier Groulx and defenseman Jared McIsaac, two of the three players with an A rating, highlight those 2018 draft-eligible players on the roster. Groulx (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 11 games, and McIsaac (6-1, 195) has five assists in 10 games for the Mooseheads.
Center Joseph Veleno (6-1, 195), the first player from the QMJHL to be granted exceptional player status, was drafted No. 1 by Saint John in the 2015 QMJHL draft as a 15-year-old. The A-rated left-hand shot has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 11 games. He was captain and had seven points (two goals, five assists) to help Canada to a gold medal at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
The event is part of the process of picking the teams for Canada and Russia for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be played in Buffalo from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
The six-game Canada Russia Series also will see teams representing the Western Hockey League (Nov. 6-7) and Ontario Hockey League (Nov. 9-13) playing Russia.
GOALTENDERS: Evan Fitzpatrick, Sherbrooke (St. Louis Blues); Samuel Harvey, Rouyn-Noranda (2018 Draft eligible)
DEFENSEMEN: Simon Benoit, Shawinigan (2018 draft eligible); Jocktan Chainey, Halifax (New Jersey Devils); Antoine Crete-Belzile, Blainville-Boisbriand (2018 draft eligible); Noah Dobson, Bathurst (2018 draft eligible); Samuel Girard, Shawinigan (Nashville Predators); Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown (Arizona Coyotes); Zachary Lauzon, Rouyn-Noranda (Pittsburgh Penguins); Jared McIsaac, Halifax (2018 draft eligible)
FORWARDS: Peter Abbandonato, Rouyn-Noranda (2018 draft eligible); Drake Batherson, Cap-Breton (Ottawa Senators); Shawn Boudrias, Gatineau (2018 draft eligible); Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville (Anaheim Ducks); Mika Cyr, Moncton (2018 draft eligible); Pierre-Luc Dubois, Blainville-Boisbriand (Columbus Blue Jackets); Arnaud Durandeau, Halifax (New York Islanders); Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Halifax (2018 draft eligible); Nicolas Guay, Halifax (2018 draft eligible); Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Rouyn-Noranda (2018 draft eligible); Pascal Laberge, Victoriaville (Philadelphia Flyers); Antoine Morand, Bathurst (Anaheim Ducks); Joel Teasdale, Blainville-Boisbriand (2018 draft eligible); Joe Veleno, Saint John (2018 draft eligible)