Improvise, adapt and overcome. Scouts across the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League have been living by that sentiment since the start of the pandemic.
Due to safety protocols that limit access to the rinks, members of the scouting fraternity have had to innovate. With the uncertainty surrounding the year, scouts are applying their expertise differently, dissecting hours of video to ensure every draft-eligible prospect is evaluated and ranked appropriately.
With preparations for the 2021 QMJHL Entry Draft well underway, the following prospects, listed alphabetically, have caught the attention of scouts so far this season.
- Marc-Olivier Beaudry – LD – Collège Charles-Lemoyne Riverains
At 6-feet, 160 pounds, all signs point to Marc-Olivier Beaudry being a top tier defender for years to come in the QMJHL, and beyond.
“Marc-Olivier is a very efficient defenceman. He is calm with the puck and controls it well,” said one QMJHL scout. “He possesses a very good first pass and a good shot from the point. His feet are constantly moving, and he plays with his head up. He will certainly become a very good defenceman when he matures physically.”
- Vincent Collard – C – Jonquière Elites
At 6’1’’ and 180 pounds, Vincent Collard already has the makings of a solid two-way center at the next level.
“Vincent is very efficient on face-offs. He is a well-rounded player who pays attention to details,” a QMJHL scout said. “His hockey sense is above average and he’s a very reliable 200-foot player who plays a very mature game despite his young age,” explained the scout.
- Luke Coughlin – LD – Charlottetown Knights
Prince Edward Island continues to produce solid defence prospects for the QMJHL and Luke Coughlin is the next one in line.
“Luke is a stocky and strong defenceman who doesn’t hesitate to support and jump in offensively when necessary,” said a QMJHL scout. “He can play at high speed and plays with great confidence. He’s a great leader on the ice and can definitely bring a physical dimension to the game.”
- Tristan Dassylva – LD – Collège Notre-Dame Albatros
Tristan Dassylva has good size and is full of potential when it comes to playing defence at the next level. At 6 feet tall and just 149 pounds, there is room to grow, but his play so far has caught the attention of countless scouts.
“Tristan is a very good skater. He’s a defenceman with quite a lot of presence on the ice,” said one scout. “His playing time certainly reflects his coach’s confidence in him. He has a good stick and he is very difficult to get around, although he does not necessarily play a physical game. His hockey sense is well above average.”
- Ethan Gauthier – C – Magog Cantonniers
Ethan Gauthier plays a lot bigger than his stature. At 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 167 pounds, the speedy elusive center plays the game the right way in all three zones.
“Ethan is a good playmaker and has a good touch around the net. He is the type of player every coach loves to have on their team,” said a QMJHL scout. “He’s very solid on skates and plays the game with a lot of power and intensity.”
- Daniel Héroux – G – Laval-Montréal Rousseau Royal
Scouts are zeroing in on Daniel Héroux this season thanks to his size, speed and athleticism. The 6’2’’ netminder is back in Quebec after playing bantam hockey in the Greater Toronto Hockey League last season.
“Daniel has great size for the position and covers a lot of net,” said one long-time QMJHL scout. “He possesses great athletic qualities and moves well between the pipes. His puck tracking is above average and he also has good hands, which makes him a great prospect in this position.”
- Tyler Peddle – LW – Shattuck St. Mary’s Sabres
After dominating the Bantam ranks in his home province a season ago, Nova Scotia’s Tyler Peddle took a different route for his draft year, opting to ply his craft south of the border this season at prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s prep school.
Peddle is scoring at a wild clip and has taken solid strides in becoming a complete player.
“Tyler has good size and above average skills, especially in tight spaces, which make him a constant threat when he has possession of the puck,” a Q scout said. “It will be interesting to follow his progress, particularly when it comes to his intensity and involvement in the game. The potential is there.”
- Carter Richardson – G – Dartmouth Steele Subaru’s
Carter Richardson has all the tools to be an effective goaltender at the next level. At 6 feet and 162 pounds, the 15-year-old netminder possesses a multitude of skills that make him a solid prospect, but the one element to his game that sets him apart is his compete level.
“Carter is a goaltender who never gives up,” one scout said. “He is very combative and competitive and he’s difficult to beat on a clear shot. He favours a rather hybrid style and covers the bottom of the net well. He relies a lot on his speed to challenge the opponent’s shots.”
- Matteo Rotondi – LD – Rothesay Netherwood School
The next top prospect out of Newfoundland, Matteo Rotondi moved away from home this season to play at New Brunswick’s Rothesay Netherwood School, which has a history of producing QMJHL players.
“Matteo is a complete defenceman, solid in most aspects of the game. He is difficult to play against and makes good decisions with the puck,” one scout offered. “He isn’t flashy, and definitely prides himself in playing a solid two-way game.”
- Anton Topilnyckyj – RD – Fredericton Caps
Anton Topilnyckyj could be New Brunswick’s best prospect at the blue line since Lukas Cormier. High praise indeed, but Topilnyckyj possesses all the tools to excel at the next level.
“Anton plays with confidence and is not afraid to take decisions with the puck and take quality shots on the opponent’s net,” said one QMJHL scout. “Anton’s a smooth skater, very mobile, and he is just as effective when playing the left side as his strong side. His poise with the puck in all three zones is definitely his strongest attribute and will serve him well at the next level.”
- Emmanuel Vermette – LW – Séminaire St-François Blizzard
At 6 feet, 175 pounds, Emmanuel Vermette is a power forward in the making. The Quebec City product can also provide a solid two-way presence to the game.
“Emmanuel is an offensive player who takes the puck hard to the net,” one QMJHL scout said.
“He has a good shot and very quick hands. He is equally comfortable playing on the right wing than on his natural side. He is always available to receive the puck and has a lot of explosion to his game.”