The three finalists for this year’s Guy-Carbonneau award were announced today by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Victoriaville native Shawn Element, Anaheim Ducks prospect Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Sherbrooke Phœnix overager Alex-Olivier Voyer are the nominees as the QMJHL’s best defensive forwards. Awarded since 2004-05, past recipients include Montreal Canadiens’ Phillip Danault and Toronto Maple Leafs’ Frédérick Gauthier.
This award is named after Sept-Iles native Guy Carbonneau, who played four seasons in the QMJHL with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens and won three Selke trophies as the best defensive forward in the National Hockey League. He was inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame in 2001 after posting phenomenal numbers (274 GP-171G-264A) over his major junior career. A year ago, he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame following a career of over 1,300 NHL games that included three Stanley Cup wins.
Shawn Element flourished offensively by piling up 20 goals and 14 assists in 32 games with a struggling Titan club prior to being dealt to the Cape Breton Eagles during the Christmas holidays. He continued his impressive performances by adding 28 points in 29 games with the contending team. He ended his career best campaign with 38 goals, 24 assists and a +18 differential.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx also went through a challenging first half with his team. After opening the season with the Halifax Mooseheads and picking up 41 points in 26 games, he became the last player to be cut from Team Canada’s World Juniors roster. Groulx was then traded to the Moncton Wildcats, where he picked up 37 points in 29 games played. He finished the season with 29 goals, 49 assists and a +20 ratio.
Alex-Olivier Voyer had a dream season with his hometown squad. The Sherbrooke Phœnix team was ranked first across the Canadian Hockey League and the overage player was piling up points game after game. The first-round selection of the Rimouski Océanic in 2015 had career highs in points (88), goals (44), assists (44) and plus/minus differential (+55). His goal total included eight game-winning goals, 11 power play markers and four shorthanded tallies.