Screaming Eagles select 15 players at 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft including 8 forwards, 5 defenseman and 2 goalies
On a day that featured much wheeling and dealing as teams jockeyed for draft positioning, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles used their own first round selection to nab goaltender Kevin Mandolese at Saturday’s draft in Charlottetown. It was the first of fifteen draft choices the Eagles would make, with nine of them coming in the first four rounds.
Mandolese was taken at #13. The 6’2, 162 pound net minder played for Collège Esther-Blondin in the Québec midget AAA league last year, posting a save percentage of .910 and a goals against average of 2.34. He was recently invited to the Hockey Canada program of excellence Under 17 goaltending camp.
Also attending that camp will be the other goaltender selected by Cape Breton, Colten Ellis. Ellis was tabbed by the Eagles with the #59 pick in round four. A Cape Breton native, the 5’11, 175 pound Ellis suited up for the Cape Breton West Islanders in the Nova Scotia major midget loop last year and posted a 3.70 goals against and an 890 save percentage. He was also named to the league’s all-rookie team.
Ellis’s Islanders teammate, Ryan Maclellan, was also taken in the fourth round (at #67). The 5’8, 153 pound blueliner had 18 points in 32 games last season and was named rookie of the year in the Nova Scotia midget league. Prior to Ellis and Maclellan, another Cape Breton midget player, Tradesmen defenseman Leon Denny, was taken by the Eagles at 33rd overall in round two. A physical blueliner who plays on the right side, Denny checks in at 5’10, 198 pounds. Last year he notched 16 points in 38 games while collecting 114 penalty minutes. He is the cousin of former Lewiston MAINEiac Chad Denny.
Fellow Nova Scotian Luke Henman, a centre, was Cape Breton’s top pick in round two, 21st overall. He is listed at 5’10 and 134 pounds. Henman posted 36 points in 38 games last year in major midget, playing with the league champion Dartmouth Steele Subaru club that partook in the national midget championship (the Telus Cup). One hundred picks later in round seven the Screaming Eagles selected a final player from Nova Scotia in Jake Martin. The 5’9, 160 pound right winger played Pictou major midget and in 27 games he recorded 18 points.
Cape Breton selected one other Maritimer, defenseman Adam McCormick (at pick #49), during a busy third round that saw the team choose a trio of players. McCormick (5’10, 155 pounds) played for Fredericton in the New Brunswick midget AAA league last year, scoring 20 points in 34 games. Also being added to the Cape Breton fold in round three were left winger Olivier Bourret-Vinette and blueliner Antoine Casimir. The 6’1, 170 pound Bourret-Vinette, who was picked 43rd overall, played for Châteauguay in Québec Midget AAA, recording 25 points in 46 games. Casimir (6’1, 185, pick #52) had 13 points in 37 games as a teammate of Mandolese at Collège Esther-Blondin.
After making a bulk of their picks in the early going, the Eagles made one pick in rounds 8 through 14 with the exception of rounds ten and twelve. Round eight saw Gabriel Proulx (pick 139) drafted by the Eagles. The 5’7, 143 pound centre picked up 32 points in 46 games with Collège Antoine-Girouard in Québec Midget AAA last season. Proulx was the only 1999 born player selected by Cape Breton, as the other 14 selections are 2000 born that will be considered 16 year olds by the QMJHL for the 2016-17 season.
Round nine (pick #157) saw the selection of 5’6, 148 pound Alexandre Roy who notched 25 points in 46 games playing as a centreman with Lévis in Québec midget AAA. Nicolas Sauvé , standing at 5’4, 128, was tabbed in round 11 (pick #128) after scoring 15 points in 46 games playing right wing for Gatineau in the Québec Midget AAA league last season. With pick #229 in the thirteenth round the Eagles grabbed 5’10, 159 pound defenseman Jeremie Major who had 24 points in 32 games playing for Collège Antoine-Girouard in Quebec’s midget espoir league in 2015-16.
Thomas Lyons, a 5’10, 168 pound centreman who played at St. Sebastien’s Prep school last year, was Cape Breton’s last pick at #247. He was the second of two mandatory American choices the club made. In round four at pick #68, Cape Breton obtained the rights to centreman Oliver Wahlstrom. The 5’11, 188 pound Massachusetts native recorded 52 points in 43 games and has been named to the US National Team Development Program Under 17 club for the coming season.
In addition to the youth the Eagles stocked up on during the draft, Eagles general manager and coach Marc-André Dumont swung a pair of deals to acquire two players with QMJHL experience. 18 year old defenseman Marcus Tesink was brought in from Moncton for a sixth round pick. Tesink (5’10, 163), whose older brother Brad played for the Eagles, recorded three assists in 51 games last season and was a +2 with twelve penalty minutes. Another 18 year old, left winger Jacob Hickey, was added from Blainville-Boisbriand in exchange for a tenth round choice. The 5’9, 175 pound Hickey had two points over 17 games with the Armada in 2015-16.
There were also trades for draft picks, and the Screaming Eagles now have a selection in the opening round of next year’s draft after a swap with the Québec Remparts. Cape Breton traded this year’s #14 pick for the #33 pick this year (Leon Denny), in addition to Quebec’s second round selection in 2017 and Shawinigan’s first round pick next year.
Both league veterans and new draftees will get the chance to make their first impressions as Eagles when training camp begins in August. The Eagles staff will now turn its attention to the CHL Import Draft on June 30th where club will be permitted to make two player selections.