Who will succeed to Beaudin, Fortin and Waked?
Peter Abbandonato has a good head start to finish as the team’s top scorer. But as planned by head coach Gilles Bouchard, the team isn’t counting on offensive superstars like it has in the past.
“Our offence is based more on a team concept this year. We have five veterans returning on defence, so no worries there…but our forwards are quite young.”
Newcomer, Slovakian forward Patrick Hrehorcak, could land on one of the first two lines.
“He has good vision and a great shot, but we need to be patient. The ice rinks are much smaller here compared to Europe, especially in Rouyn-Noranda. He understands the game well, but he still needs time to adapt.”
An inspiration for college players?
Vincent Marleau only played in two games with the Huskies last season. Coming from the collegiate ranks, he earned his roster spot against all expectations.
“We really liked what we saw from his two games last year, before his injury. I thought he could be knocking at our door this year and he did. He has a good attitude and good size. He’s a really pleasant surprise”, says Gilles Bouchard.
As for 18-year-old Tommy Beaudoin, he was playing on a fourth line in Junior AAA last year. He also earned his roster spot among the wolf pack.
All in all, ten or so college players have found a home in the QMJHL heading into this season.
More tricks up their sleeve?
In order to build their 2016 President Cup winning team, the Huskies didn’t hesitate to sacrifice some quality draft picks. But that hasn’t stopped Gilles Bouchard from counting on the services of quality rookies.
“Rafael Harvey-Pinard is probably one of our top three forwards…he was selected in the eighth round. Samuel Naud is really strong physically and does a great job; we claimed him in the ninth round. Same thing for Félix-Antoine Tourigny. We also had some invited players who cracked our roster. I really need to tip my cap to our scouts, who have done some great work”, explained Bouchard.