Five teams to watch | The 2022-23 Quebec Remparts
Last year, the Quebec Remparts came within a game of punching their ticket to what was then still named the President Cup Final. Does that disappointment play a factor in the mindset of this year’s club?
“Yes and no,” explains Remparts Head Coach and GM Patrick Roy. “Though we were disappointed by how things ended, it was our plan to build for two years. We’re not living in the past, though. We considered that experience a measuring stick and motivation to improve.”
While Roy refers to the Spring of 2022 as a measuring stick, the rest of the league considers the high-flying Remparts to be the true measuring stick this season. With high level skill at every position, the club is poised to top the league’s regular season standings wire to wire. It’s doing it with players like two-time World Junior gold medalist Nathan Gaucher, accomplished goal scorer and St. Louis Blues first-rounder Zachary Bolduc, and talented captain Theo Rochette up front, among others. The blueline has had to contend with the loss to injury of Florida Panthers draftee Evan Nause for long stretches of the season, a void that has been sufficiently filled by savvy veterans Nicolas Savoie and Charle Truchon.
With a solid base four years in the making firmly in place, the finishing touches came over the holiday trade period thanks to the acquisition of forward Justin Robidas from Val-d’Or and defensemen Thomas Darcy and Jeremy Langlois by way of Moncton and Cape Breton, respectively. Roy likes what he’s seen of his newcomers so far.
“We knew we wanted to improve our top six depth and Robidas has done that,” he says of the former Foreurs captain. “Darcy has been a great addition when in the lineup. As for Langlois, to be honest, he’s performed better than I thought. He’s been absolutely phenomenal for us.”
Langlois, another former captain with the Eagles, is also part of a team defense structure that typically keeps the shot total down for Remparts netminders William Rousseau and Quentin Miller. Speaking of his number one goalie, the compliments Roy has for Rousseau are plentiful.
“Rousseau is a guy who loves to compete,” he explains. “He often faces low shot totals, which can be tricky for a goaltender. But he’s so good at staying focused in those situations.”
Put it all together and you have a team that has yet to lose more than two games in a row this season. But come the postseason, what will it take to be the first to earn four victories in any given playoff series? The man responsible for putting this collection of players together has not only a ready answer, but a well-defined sense of perspective.
“I look at the bigger picture,” Roy stresses. “There are four other very good teams at the top of the standings, but we need to remember that every team we face in the playoffs will be prepared for us and all can be challenging in different ways. For us, I think our ability to control our emotions will be key. How we react to certain situations and to the challenges our opponents will offer will be critical.”
With that philosophy, nobody should be surprised if the first-ever Gilles-Courteau Trophy finds a new home in la Vieille Capitale.