The last vintage of the QMJHL draft was a particularly interesting one. As we are now a third of the season, it is now possible to identify with greater conviction the players who are most successful and who undeniably contribute to the success of their team. Of the lot, five recruits managed to stand out.
Zachary The Happy, Moncton Wildcats
Although Joshua Roy and Justin Robidas, who were first and second at the last auction of the QMJHL, have been extensively discussed, forward Zachary L'Heureux, who is third in the Wildcats, knows most startling debut. The former Grenadiers of Chateauguay impresses with his maturity, his leadership and his intelligence on the rink. Everything indicates that he will be the precious heir of Jakob Pelletier, who accompanies him enormously in his development. Combined with the latter and Alexander Khomanov, the 16-year-old has had a spectacular debut, earning at least one point in his first 11 appearances at Courteau. Since then, he has maintained a production pace of more than one point per game with 20 points in 19 games. The Mercierois already plays as a leader and has quickly become an important element for the Wildcats, who sit at the top of the Eastern association.
Samuel Hlavaj, Phoenix of Sherbrooke
The Phoenix is not the best junior hockey team in Canada for no reason. Obviously, the contribution of Samuel Poulin, Alex-Olivier Voyer and Felix Robert is a huge luxury and if the troupe of Stephane Julien is the one who scores the most goals, it is also the one that gives the least through the QMJHL. This is largely thanks to the brilliance of 18-year-old Samuel Hlavaj of Slovakia. Casually, the latter is the 13th goalkeeper to have received the most throws and he still sits at the top of the league in terms of effectiveness rates (0.927) and number of goals allowed on average per game (2.05 ). The imposing 6'3 '' and 213-pounder has only lost three times this season. It should also be noted that before referring to the Phoenix, Hlavaj went through the USHL, where he had a miserable season. His name was thrown out by NHL scouts in the last draft, which was ranked fifth on the guardian list. However, the chances that this year is the good have greatly improved, he who plays in an inspired way since the beginning of the campaign. He was undefeated in regular time in his first 14 games, the only defeat going back to November 16 last.
Isaac Belliveau, Oceanic of Rimouski
Nobody could have expected such an early season from Isaac Belliveau. The 16-year-old defenseman leads the rookie circuit with 28 points in 23 games. Selected in the second round of the 2018 draft, Belliveau is experiencing a meteoric rise, which has been blanked just four times since the start of the season. If the Oceanic attack was devastating and goalkeeper Colten Ellis was among the most dominant before his injury, the defense was the Achilles heel of Serge Beausoleil's troupe. The performance of Belliveau has come to solidify and improve this brigade very early in the season, he who also directs the first unit of the power play. Belliveau's production is such that he even surpasses certain stars, such as Nathan Legare, Gabriel Fortier or Rafael Harvey-Pinard in terms of points. The future of the 6'0 '' defender is promising, only remains to see if he will be able to perform as well with the absences of Dmitry Zavgorodniy, injured for several weeks, and Alexis Lafreniere, who will leave soon for the World Junior Hockey Championship.
James Malatesta, Quebec Remparts
The case of James Malatesta created a lot of turmoil at the beginning of the season in the old capital. The one who was the 11th highest ranked prospect on the sidelines of the QMJHL draft had made the choice to turn his back on the Quebec circuit to commit himself to the Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, to be able to play in the NCAA. Patrick Roy still selected the Lac St. Louis Lions center player at 116th place. Situation reversal, Malatesta made the decision, August 28, to join the Red Devils and since, the one that the supporters of the Remparts waited, meets expectations. Paired with Captain Felix Bibeau most of the time, Malatesta started on the run with two goals in his first game. Since then, he continues to contribute to the surprising success of the Remparts with 16 points in 18 games. Bet he will be in the good graces of his coach in the coming seasons if he continues this momentum, he is on a sequence of five points in four games. Malatesta likes to evolve for the Remparts. The marriage seems effective so far.
Zachary Bolduc, Oceanic of Rimouski
It is difficult to stand out when playing in the same team as the three most productive players on the circuit. However, Zachary Bolduc is capable of it. The one who, like Malatesta, had preferred the American circuit by referring to the Mousketeers of Sioux City, finally settled in the Lower River, with the team that had drafted 14th in the last auction. Thanks to an excellent season with the Trois-Rivieres Estacades, Bolduc was ranked 6th on the list of Midget Top Prospects. The attacker is used on the first unit of the digital advantage, with Lafreniere and company. So obviously, he gets his share of points on the power play, he scored five of his seven goals in this phase of the game It remains nevertheless that his talent is undeniable and he is a born marker. He has played fewer games than the majority of recruits and still ranks among the best. Bolduc is an attacker with certain offensive qualities on which the organization has many hopes to replace, as best as possible, Alexis Lafreniere after his departure for the NHL next season.