The Drummondville Voltigeurs put together their most successful season in seven years in 2017-18. Their combination of skill, speed and depth propelled the club to 92 points and a playoff series victory, their first in four years.
Now, they want more. And they’re built to get it.
Two separate transactions with Victoriaville at the 2018 QMJHL Draft should aid the Volts in their quest for more. First, they gave up two first and two second round picks to the Tigres in exchange for left winger and Anaheim Ducks prospect Maxime Comtois. With 85 points in 54 games, Comtois was a go-to guy with the high octane Tigres last year while also representing Team Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Moments later, Drummondville shipped a first-round pick in 2020 to Victoriaville for overage center Félix Lauzon, who registered 41 points in 52 regular season and playoff games for the Tigres.
Add this to a crop of forwards that include returning veterans Joe Veleno and Nicholas Guay, as well as strong sophomores Xavier Simoneau and Dawson Mercer, and the Voltigeurs stand a good chance at leading the QMJHL in goals scored for the second straight year.
“We like our speed up front”, Voltigeurs General Manager Stéphane Desroches stated. “We like the fact that we have four lines that can skate.”
The forwards won’t be doing all the heavy lifting offensively, however. 2018 Chicago Blackhawks first rounder Nicolas Beaudin, who finished tied for second in scoring among QMJHL defencemen last season, returns to anchor a defense corps that also features two-way threats in New Jersey Devils prospect Xavier Bernard and Marc-Olivier Duquette. Edmonton Oilers 2018 selection Olivier Rodrigue returns for his third season between the pipes in Drummondville after going 36-24 last year, regular season and playoffs combined.
“We have a solid back end with guys like Beaudin and Duquette that can join the attack,” Desroches said. “With Rodrigue, we feel we have one of the top five goalies in the league.”
Off the ice, the Voltigeurs saw shifts in personnel as well. Steve Hartley takes the reigns of the club after serving as an assistant to Dominique Ducharme, who made the move to the Montreal Canadiens as an Assistant Coach in the off-season. Additionally, long time NHLer and “Q” Alumni Steve Begin joins the bench staff.
“Steve Hartley brings a lot of continuity to the bench, having been here for a few years”, Desroches remarked. “Steve Begin was a big addition for us as well. He brings the same intensity as a coach that he brought as a player. We feel the [players] will adapt well to him.”
Then there’s Desroches himself. The GM has pulled off a unique coup in having at least one impact 17, 18, 19 and 20-year old player on his roster.
“It’s so important to have talent at every age group,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of strong drafts that have helped us [in this regard]. We’re strong now and when we have to go into a rebuild, it won’t take long to build.”
In gaining more skill, more experience and more versatility, the Voltigeurs have placed themselves in prime position to earn more success this season.
Nicholas Girouard (2017 QMJHL Draft)
Benjamin Corbeil (2017 QMJHL Draft)
Alec Reid (2017 QMJHL Draft)
Chase Ellis (3rd Rd 2018 QMJHL Draft)
Oliver Turan (1st Rd 2018 Import Draft)
Robert Lynch (USHL)
Morgan Adams-Moisan (Laval Rocket – AHL)
Connor Bramwell (USports)
Yvan Mongo (USports)
Bastian Eckl (EC Salzburg – Austria)
The Voltigeurs in 2017-18:
Record: 44-20-3-1 (92 pts)
Goals for: 277
Goals against: 194
Joseph Veleno (22-57-79)
Nicolas Beaudin (12-57-69)
Robert Lynch (28-39-67, not returning)
2018 Playoffs: Defeated Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in first round (4-1)
Lost to Victoriaville Tigres in second round (1-4)