To begin the 2017-2018 season, the Océanic will have several new faces in its line-up, 11 in total. Mathieu Bizier, Christopher Innis and Alexis Lafrenière, all drafted in the first round in June, made the team. In addition, Russian Dmitry Zavgorodniy, drafted in 8th place in the Canadian Hockey League draft, will take to the ice for the first time in North America.
Yannik Bertrand, Samuel Dove-McFalls, Colten Ellis, Samuel Gaumond and Chase Stewart were acquired on the trade market. Ontario player Parker Bowman, invited to the camp, has managed to earn a spot on the team.
“It’s significant, but we have new players and seasoned veteran players too. The goal will be to achieve a sense of cohesion in there. We are very happy. It will be a big, strong and fast team, “said Serge Beausoleil, Head Coach and General Manager. “Our young people have a lot of talent, so it will make an interesting mix.”
In front of the net, the Océanic will entrust goaltenders Colten Ellis and Jimmy Lemay. Ellis played 3 games in the QMJHL with Cape Breton, while Lemay played 17 games with the Océanic. “Seasons allow players to progress,” said the General Manager, giving a vote of confidence to his goaltender. “Mickaël Rioux is in his 7th season and is very competent with the goaltenders.”
The GM, who is also starting a 7th season with the Océanic, does not want to give a goal to his team in the standings. The goal is always to push the limits. “On our side”, the GM analyzed, “it will be to develop our team, especially when it comes to our principles that are very important. Player will have to be diligent, to be persistent, to put passion on the ice and TO put our values on the ice. It will bring good results. ”
Over the last few weeks, the Océanic has unexpectedly lost some players. Captain Samuel Laberge, who obtained 45 points in 40 games last season, signed a contract with the Dallas Stars farm team. Alexandre Lagacé, Hunter Moreau and Miguël Picard put an end to their career. With all of these changes, the plans changed and the 20-year-old trio comprised of Bertrand, Dove-McFalls and Stewart never played for the Lower St. Lawrence team. “You hardly replace a guy like Samuel Laberge. We were happy that he signed his professional contract, but it was not foreseen,” the Coach admitted. “As for Moreau, for health reasons, it was known since April that it was preferable that he no longer played hockey. ”
“As for Miguel Picard, it took us by surprise. We brought him back to his region and we really thought it would revive his passion for hockey. He came back to Rimouski, he donned the sweater, everything was wonderful, and a week before camp, he no longer wanted to play hockey. We must respect young people’s choice,” said Serge Beausoleil, adding that it is why he sought Samuel Gaumond to take his place at the centre.
The OCÉANIC IN 2016-2017
Score sheet: 26-35-6-1 (16th)
Eliminated in the first round vs. Saint John
Goals For: 229 (10th)
Goals Against: 255 (13th)
Power Play: 22.6% (12th)
Penalty Killing: 80.7% (5th)
NAMES TO REMEMBER
Alexis Lafrenière (LW)
The first pick in the last QMJHL Draft comes labeled as the franchise’s player. The winger will turn 16 on Oct. 11th. He dominated the Midget AAA League with 83 points in 36 games with the Saint-Eustache Vikings.
Samuel Dove-McFalls (C)
Acquired through the Simon Bourque trade, Dove-McFalls will complete his junior career in Rimouski. Winner of the President Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs, he will bring a dose of experience to the attack. In 212 games in the QMJHL, the Montreal native has amassed 109 points, almost half of which he collected last season (65 gp – 53 pts)
Denis Mikhin (RW)
The Russian player will be in his 2nd season in the Lower St. Lawrence. He ranked 5th among scorers on his team, with 39 points in 59 games. At 18 years old, he ranked 9th for goals scored by players (rookies)
Nathan Ouellet (RW)
Serge Beausoleil’s favorite, Nathan Ouellet has earned a spot on the team. He became the first player from the Rivière-du-Loup Secondary School Sphinx to make a QMJHL team. He got 42 points in 28 games with the Sphinx. The Coach compares him to Alex Belzile.
“He was under the radar. He did very well at rookie camp, intrasquad and exhibition games. He does a lot of things. His position on the ice, his reading of the game, his handling of the puck and his protection of the puck, he does this with a great maturity. We will be able to entrust him with offensive and defensive missions.” Serge Beausoleil
Charles-Édouard D’Astous (R)
New quarterback at the blue line since the departure of Simon Bourque, D’Astous took his role seriously in the second half of the season. He earned 24 points in January, February and March. His 40 points were a peak among the team’s defencemen.
Dominic Cormier (R)
The Moncton defenceman continued his progression at the blue line. The 19-year-old hockey player went from a 17-point rookie season to 34 points in 68 games.
Colten Ellis (G)
Acquired from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Colten Ellis will defend the net with Jimmy Lemay. The Nova Scotia team’s 4th round pick in 2016 played 3 games, for a total of 144 minutes. The 17-year-old goaltender on October 5th managed to register 2 wins.