The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced today its finalists for the prestigious Michel-Brière Trophy, awarded annually to the regular season’s Most Valuable Player. Val-d’Or Foreurs captain Jakob Pelletier as well as Charlottetown Islanders teammates Cedric Desruisseaux and Colten Ellis are this year’s nominees.
The award is named in honour of Michel Brière, a QMJHL alumnus who died at the age of 21 after suffering major head trauma in a car accident. He played his major junior career with the Shawinigan Bruins, scoring 129 goals and adding 191 assists in 100 games. He then played one season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, posting 44 points in 76 games.
Past recipients of the Michel-Brière Trophy include many current NHL stars such as Sean Couturier, Sidney Crosby, Yanni Gourde and Anthony Mantha.
The Foreurs unveiled their intentions to compete for a title after acquiring Jakob Pelletier last June and naming him captain one week later. The natural-born leader responded by leading the team to a second-place finish in the overall standings thanks to a stellar 28-3-2-2 record. Despite suiting up in only 28 regular season games, Pelletier also led Val-d’Or with a team best 43 points, 30 assists, 15 power play points and a +25 differential. The Calgary Flames first-rounder missed time during the season to represent Canada at the 2021 World Juniors, a tournament in which he finished with a point-per-game average and a silver medal around his neck.
No player had a more dominant season in 2020-21 than Charlottetown’s Cedric Desruisseaux. The forward helped the 35-5-0-0 Islanders to a first-place finish while leading the QMJHL with 42 goals and 78 points in 40 games played. The Jean-Beliveau Trophy winner also led the league with an astounding +46 differential and finished with the fourth most assists thanks to his 36. The assistant captain set a new team record by finding the back of the net in 13 consecutive games and was the league’s most consistent contributor by racking up points in all but one of the Islanders’ 40 games this season. Desruisseaux capped off his tremendous campaign by inking a one-year deal with the AHL’s Laval Rocket last month.
A steady presence in front of the Rimouski Oceanic net for the past three seasons, Colten Ellis took his game to an elite level after being acquired by the Islanders last June. The goaltender finished with the most wins in the QMJHL thanks to a flawless 23-1-0-0 record that led the Isles to their first Jean-Rougeau Trophy. Ellis also led the league with his .926% save percentage and set two new QMJHL records by posting seven shutouts in a single season and pushing his career total to 17. The 20-year-old also rewrote the league’s history books by ending the season with an all-time best 1.78 goals against average. A third-round pick of the St-Louis Blues in 2019, he signed his first pro contract with the franchise back in March.