The Defenseman of the Year nominees announced

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The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League just released the three finalists for the Émile-Bouchard Trophy, which is awarded to the League’s top defenseman.

This year’s finalists are Lukas Cormier of the Charlottetown Islanders, his teammate Noah Laaouan and Jordan Spence of the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

The award is named after Montreal Canadiens alumnus and Hockey Hall of Famer Émile “Butch” Bouchard, who excelled in the National Hockey League between 1941 and 1956. He won four Stanley Cups and was voted to the NHL All-Star team on four occasions.

Past recipients of the award include some of the NHL’s top defensemen such as Kristopher Letang, Samuel Girard and Thomas Chabot.

Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights last October, Lukas Cormier certainly has the organization pumped for years to come. The Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, NB native scored 16 times and added 38 assists in only 39 regular season games. The young defenseman also registered an impressive +35 differential. His defensive and offensive contributions helped Charlottetown capture the Maritimes Division crown.

Winner of the 2020-21 Kevin-Lowe Trophy as the league’s top defensive defenseman, Noah Laaouan is also nominated in this category. Like Cormier, he posted a stunning differential of +33, the fourth best mark in the league for this stat category. The Halifax, NS native was impressive in the offensive zone, recording almost one point per game (38 points in 39 games), his best offensive season since entering the QMJHL in 2017.

Traded by the Moncton Wildcats to the Foreurs at the deadline, Jordan Spence largely contributed to the successes of the President Cup finalists. The L.A. Kings prospect piled up 40 points in 32 games this season, including 24 points in 19 games with his new club. The trade for Spence helped the Foreurs finish atop the West Division standings, the team maintaining an 18-1 record following the blueliner’s arrival. The Cornwall, P.E.I. native was the recipient of last year’s Émile-Bouchard Trophy.

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