The QMJHL’s scouting department and its nine scouts have watched over 300 games this year, here are the players that rang 4 to 10 as broken down by scouting director Pascal Legault.
4 – Evan Fitzpatrick, Goaltender, Newbridge
The Newbridge Academy Gladiators were blessed this past season with the top goalie on the East Coast, Evan Fitzpatrick – all 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds of him, no less.
“You almost have to remind yourself that he’s only 15. People are talking about him ending up at around 6-foot-5 when he’s done growing,” marvelled Legault.
In 18 starts this season, Fitzpatrick won 12 games, posting a 2.31 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
“Despite his considerable size, Evan is very quick in his crease. His lateral moves are fast and smooth. I have no doubts that he will make an impact in the QMJHL. He’s a hybrid style goalie who has a very calm demeanour,” described Legault.
Expected to be the crown jewel among goalies this year, Fitzpatrick knows he will have his work cut out for him at the next level.
“It’s a nice honour to be the No.1 ranked goalie, but his is only the next step towards my goals. It’s now going to be up to me to prove why I’ve been ranked so high,” says Fitzpatrick who is renowned for his excellent rebound control.
5 – Luke Green, Defenceman, Newbridge
The Gladiators will be well-represented this weekend it seems. Fitzpatrick teammate Luke Green is the next on the list as the top d-man from the Maritimes.
“Luke is at his best in transition thanks to the smoothness of his skating stride. He still needs some work on his play in his own zone, however,” explains Legault. “He sees the ice really well though. That’s in part what makes him so dangerous on the power-play.”
The 5-foot-11, 168-pounder helped his team eliminate the Major Midget Weeks and the Cole Harbour Wolfpack before bowing out to the Halifax McDonalds Major Midget.
6 – Michael O’Leary, Forward, Salisbury
Next up is Michael O’Leary, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound power forward.
“He is excellent along the boards and knows how to use his size. He also protects the puck well and has a heavy shot he isn’t afraid to use which makes him all the more dangerous in the offensive zone,” says Legault.
Like many young players, O’Leary will need to improve his skating if he wants to keep progressing through the ranks.
“His strength is definitely deep in the zone down low in traffic.”
7 – Jordan Maher, Forward, Central Ice Park
Not only does he have the talent, but Jordan Maher also has the right attitude. He also knows how to make a difference when his team needs a big goal.
“He has pinpoint accuracy and is the real deal. He knows how to take over at both ends of the ice. He is also very consistent from shift to shift and is a battler,” says Legault.
Maher’s work ethic is what really sets him apart.
8 – Michael Campoli, Defenceman, Lac St-Louis
He may have been slowed by injury during the season but Campoli’s production was steady when he returned to action.
“He can be relied on in all situations. He’s a defenceman who can read the play very well and can make a great first pass on the breakout,” explains Legault.
He will need to work on his consistency but his 6-foot-2, 189-pound frame will not go unnoticed by QMJHL scouts nor will his physical strength and ability.
9 – Guillaume Beck, Defenceman, College Esther-Blondin
The College Esther-Blondin was able to count on quite the complete blue-liner in Guillaume Beck.
“Guillaume is always in control at any point of a game. He always just seems to make the right decision with the puck. His 6-foot-2, 178-pound frame allows to chip in both offensively and in his own zone. He’s also patient but will have to work at his physical play in front of the net.”
10 – Miguel Picard, Forward, College Notre-Dame
The Foreurs, Oceanic, Screaming Eagles, Mooseheads and Tigres have all met with this 6-foot, 167-pound forward described as a well-rounded player who is reliable in his own zone.
“He makes his mark through his consistency and his hard work. He has good moves with the puck and knows how to protect it. He is an emotional player whose determination and work ethic speak for themselves,” says Legault.
An honourable mention goes out to No. 11 ranked prospect, Mitchell Balmas of Nova Scotia. Many scouts have tabbed him as a sure-fire NHLer, which could mean he will be snatched up much sooner. His ranking only tumbled this low due to his lack of passion and desire on the ice.
“He can at times control the play all on his own thanks to his incredible talent. He has all the skills to succeed. He only needs to take things into his own hands more often,” says Legault.