The Victoriaville Tigres will count on a mature team heading into the 2017-18 season. Many veteran players are back and will mix in with the eight rookies who managed to make the Bois-Franc’s team roster.
“We are going to have a very competitive team with some good offensive elements. It should be very exciting”, said the team’s general manager, Kevin Cloutier. “We want to be a part of the league’s elite, but at the same time there are so many unpredictable elements in a season that we don’t know how things will go.”
Marco Cavalleri, Jérémy Côté, Adam Gaudreau, Egor Kurbatov, Édouard Ouellet, Félix Paré, Benjamin Thibeault and goalkeeper Anthony Morrone are the new rookies on the team.
However, the rookies’ roles should be limited with a team counting on so many quality veterans. Maxime Comtois, Ivan Kosorenkov, Pascal Laberge, Félix Lauzon, James Phelan and Mathieu Sévigny will be the offensive juggernauts of the Tigres. Head coach Louis Robitaille will have to wait until early December before getting Lauzon back.
“We have 17 of last year’s players [16 with the departure of Antoine Lessard] returning out of the 24 players on our current roster”, specified Robitaille. “We definitely have a mature team. We have older players on both defence and offence.”
“It always hurts when your captain isn’t there. We went through it last year when Pomerleau missed 26 games and we felt it”, added general manager Cloutier. “We went out and got Mathieu Sévigny, who will eat up a lot of Lauzon’s minutes.”
FULL INTERVIEW : Kevin Cloutier (GM) – FRENCH
The experience will help
Amongst the top-6 defenceman group, Jérémie Beaudin, Félix Boivin, Pierre-Olivier Demers and Andrew Smith are all 19 years old, while Vincent Lanoue and Jérôme Gravel are respectively 20 and 18 years old.
The veteran players are sure to help out the goaltenders since the duo of Tristan Côté-Cazenave and Anthony Morrone have a total of 16 games played in the QMJHL, all of them belonging to Côté-Cazenave. “[The experience] can help out our goaltenders. We have defencemen who have been in this league for a long time”, says Kevin Cloutier. “They have a lot of experience and that can definitely help us out.”
“We have faith towards Côté-Cazenave, despite the fact he’s only played 16 games”, said the team GM about the goaltender who’s won his past six outings. “He’s proven a lot of things in last season’s second half.”
THE 2016-2017 TIGRES IN NUMBERS
Record: 35-25-6-2 (9th)
Eliminated in the first round by Chicoutimi
Goals for: 230 (8th)
Goals against: 231 (9th)
Power play: 23,8% (6th)
Penalty kill: 79,4% (6th)
NAMES TO REMEMBER
Pascal Laberge (RW)
Laberge missed nearly six weeks of action last season following a head check he received from Zachary Malatesta. The 2014 second overall pick still managed to collect 32 points in 46 games played. The previous season, he had amassed 68 points in 56 games, all at the tender age of 17.
Maxime Comtois (LW)
In his QMJHL sophomore season, Comtois remained steady in terms of stats. He had 60 points in 62 games played as a 16-year-old and followed up with 51 points in 64 games last year. Last June, he was selected in the second round by the Anaheim Ducks.
Félix Lauzon (C)
Because of a shoulder injury, the captain will miss the first six weeks of the regular season. Following seasons of 15 and 38 points with the Tigres, the captain maintained a point-per-game pace last year thanks to his 51 points.
Ivan Kosorenkov (RW)
Kosorenvkov will be back in Victoriaville for a second season. As a rookie, he finished second in team scoring last year with 63 points in 68 games. He was also second on the team with 13 power-play goals.
Vincent Lanoue (D)
Lanoue will be part of an experienced group of defencemen. The 20-year-old is now entering his fifth season in the QMJHL. He is 12 games short of having played in 250 of them and is two points shy of the 100-point plateau. In 67 games in 2016-17, he had 48 points.
Jérémie Beaudin (D)
Acquired from the Rimouski Oceanic prior to last season, Beaudin took part in 54 games with the Tigres, collecting 26 points in the process. Beaudin has also previously worn the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles colors.
Tristan Côté-Cazenave (G)
The 18-year-old netminder had 7 wins and 4 losses last season, his only one in the QMJHL. He maintained a goals against average of 3,43 and a save percentage of 87,8%.