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Our 18 | The 2022-2023 Gatineau Olympiques

 

The league’s most decorated franchise now embarks on its 50th anniversary campaign. And at the onset, the Gatineau Olympiques appear to have a lineup that will definitely make this a season worth celebrating.

All told, nine NHL drafted players make their home in Gatineau this season, including 2021 Vegas Golden Knights first-rounder Zachary Dean. He’ll be joined up front by overager and Arizona Coyotes draftee Manix Landry and 2020 QMJHL second overall pick Antonin Verreault. Samuel Savoie returns for a third season after being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2022 Draft, while Haakon Hanelt embarks on his first full season in the Q after an injury shortened 2021-22 campaign that nonetheless saw him get selected by the Washington Capitals at the NHL Entry Draft and by Team Germany for the recent 2022 World Juniors. Head Coach and GM Louis Robitaille was able to bolster this roster through the acquisition of Carolina Hurricanes prospect Robert Orr from the Halifax Mooseheads during training camp. Also picked up via off-season trade was Olivier Nadeau, fresh off a President Cup title with the Shawinigan Cataractes, whose debut in black and silver will be delayed several months due to shoulder surgery.

On defense, a pair of 2020 QMJHL first-rounders will be part of the team’s nucleus as Tristan Luneau and Noah Warren embark on their third seasons with the Olympiques after both were chosen by the Anaheim Ducks at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Pittsburgh Penguins draftee Isaac Belliveau will again be relied upon as an offensive catalyst while the reliable Olivier Boutin will be called upon to contribute in numerous situations. The organization also provided further depth on the back end through the off-season acquisition of former Moncton Wildcats rearguard Charles-Antoine Pilote.

In nets, Emerick Despatie takes the reigns in his first season as the club’s regular starter and will be backed up by Alberta-born rookie goaltender Kaiden Kirkwood.

After five decades, seven President Cups and a Memorial Cup, the Olympiques are looking to add to that plethora of banners during this special season. And while many memories of the past will be revisited this year, make no mistake; the future is now.

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2021-2022 Olympiques Stats:

Team Record 39-15-11-3 (92 points)
Division Ranking 1st West
Overall Ranking 5th
Goals For 248 (7th)
Goals Against 193 (4th)
PP (Overall) 24.1% (T-7th)
PK (Overall) 81.9% (3rd)
Leading Rookie (PTS) Gadoury (5-6-11)
Leading Scorers (PTS) Pinard (44-47-91)
  Bizier (31-35-66)
  Cormier (28-31-59)
  Dean (21-31-52)
  Verreault (14-32-46)

 

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