HF: QMJHL Emergence – additional content

The culmination of my CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game coverage was a brief interview with QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau, which led to me writing this article about the league's strong draft class in 2013 and some improvements that I've seen in the league over the past few years.

Here's some additional thoughts:

  • The idea behind this article started taking root a number of years ago, perhaps even as far back as 2008 when there wasn't a QMJHL player selected in the first round. I've always been interested in draft trends over time.
  • One particular narrative is Atlantic Canada. The Halifax Mooseheads were the first team in these provinces back in 1994-95, so players like Nathan MacKinnon have grown up going to Moosehead games. There's now six teams across three provinces (and there used to be a team in Newfoundland).
  • Besides the players simply growing up as QMJHL fans, I wonder how much language and being able to play close to home factors in for young Atlantic Canadians entering in to the QMJHL.
  • I didn't run all the numbers, but I feel like the QMJHL also has a higher number of Import players drafted per quota. Last year, I wrote about the Import Draft in this article.
  • One demographic that I didn't mention was the Americans. Right off the top of my head, I'm not sure if there has been a top level American draft eligible in the QMJHL (maybe Ryan Bourque or Adam Pineault?)
  • That all might change with the QMJHL mandating that their teams must draft two American players each year.
  • One thing that I think hurts the QMJHL compared to the other CHL leagues is population base. Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces is the smallest population and even when pulling from the US, the states they have rights too are New England, with a heavy college influence to compete against.
  • The OHL has access to Michigan and New York, while the WHL has done great work with areas like California.
  • Like attracting Atlantic Canadians, I wonder how much language and culture has an effect on American players choosing to come to the QMJHL.
  • I'm interested in how draft classes relate to one another. For example, the last 10 years, a talented year from the QMJHL (4-5 first rounders) was often followed with a slower year (0-2 first rounders). The 2014 draft class doesn't look particularly incredible at this point.
  • When it comes to draft picks from particular positions, it's worth noting that although QMJHL goaltenders aren't as favoured as they were 15-20 years ago, there's also a reluctance to drafting goalies in the top rounds as a whole.
  • Also I mentioned the rise of defensemen coming out of the QMJHL, but looking ahead, I'm wondering if that might be short lived. The league has gone from Gormley & Beaulieu to Ouellet & Sergeev and next up is Culkin & Fournier with Morin & Murphy in the pipeline. Nothing against any of those players, but the Q isn't challenging the OHL & the WHL for developing blue liners anytime soon.
  • With that said, the development time for most defensemen is a bit longer as well, so it will be a few years before accurate assessments can be made.
  • I'll be looking at the NHL drafted defensemen in the QMJHL a bit closer in my next article for Hockey's Future (shameless plug).

Top Prospects Game – by the numbers

The 2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, by the numbers:

  • # of Articles written: 9
  • # of Words written: 10,389
  • Capacity of the Halifax Metro Centre: 10,595
  • Longest article: 1748 words
  • Shortest article: 871 words
  • # of times I've been told I'm long-winded: countless
  • # of Days of coverage: 3
  • # of Trips to the rink: 4
  • Total hours of sleep (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday): 17
  • # of Cups of tea drank: 16
  • # of Cups of coffee drank: 4
  • # of Lattes drank: 1
  • # of Players interviewed: 14 (+2 coaches + 1 commissioner)
  • Psalm number on the back of goaltender Spencer Martin's helmet: 118:8
  • Height of Samuel Morin (tallest player): 6'6.25
  • Weight of Nikita Zadorov (biggest player): 221 pounds
  • Height and weight of Nicolas Petan (smallest player): 5'8.25 and 166 pounds
  • # of Participating players who were in Halifax for the 2011 Canada Winter Games: 21
  • # of Stanley Cups won by Kevin Lowe: 6
  • # of Funny looks I gave Kevin Lowe for his hat (some sort of poorboy cap): 3
  • # of Goals in the game: 3
  • # of Fights: 2
  • # of Carlin's Seven Dirty Words that losing coach Don Cherry used in post-game press conference: 3