The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League today announced the finalists for the Maurice-Filion Trophy of the 2020-21 season. The nominees for General Manager of the Year are Sylvain Couturier of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Jim Hulton of the Charlottetown Islanders and Yanick Jean of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens.
Awarded for the first time in 2005-06, this honor is renamed in tribute to Maurice Filion, who was head coach of the Quebec Remparts between 1969 and 1972. The Quebec City native won the President Cup twice, in addition to lifting the first Memorial Cup in QMJHL history. After his success in Major Junior, he was promoted to General Manager of the Quebec Nordiques before returning to the QMJHL as Director of Player Safety.
Sylvain Couturier’s work and patience over the past season have certainly been rewarded. After finishing last in the QMJHL a season ago, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan jumped to fourth overall in the 2020-21 standings. The main architects of this turnaround are all players drafted by Couturier last season; forwards Bennett MacArthur, Riley Kidney and Cole Huckins all finished their second season among the team’s top scorers. The Titan general manager made good moves with the acquisition of veterans Adam McCormick and Félix-Antoine Marcotty, both of whom averaged one point per game or more this season. Couturier was also not afraid to hand the Titan’s net to two rookie goaltenders; Chad Arsenault, a 12th round pick he acquired from the Charlottetown Islanders, and Jan Bednar, the second overall pick of the 2020 CHL Import Draft.
Jim Hulton was recognized for his exceptional work behind the Islanders bench by winning the Ron-Lapointe Trophy yesterday. However, it is impossible to overlook the impact his decisions as general manager had on his club’s performance. Hulton first got his hands on Colten Ellis last June, a decision that paid off as the goaltender ended his record-breaking season with 23 wins and a single loss while leading the Islanders to first place overall in the standings. To complement a strong core of players drafted and developed by Charlottetown, Hulton added experience and offense by acquiring Bailey Peach from the Sherbrooke Phoenix in December, before trading for his teammate Patrick Guay in a major transaction a month later.
Even after unloading several key veterans during the offseason, the Chicoutimi Saguenéens still finished third in the overall standings in 2020-21. Yanick Jean, who is a finalist for General Manager of the Year for a third consecutive season, has certainly had a say in his club’s performance. Even though he made fewer transactions than in previous years, Jean still got his hands on some important pieces to complement the powerful core he had in place. He first acquired 20-year-old Pierrick Dubé, an elite sniper who found the back of the net 12 times in 14 games for Chicoutimi, before trading for another veteran with offensive flair in Félix Lafrance.