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Prospect and NHL Draft News: Big Names from the QMJHL

The QMJHL offers a strong class of first round prospects for the the NHL 2020 draft.

Hendrix Lapierre
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Throughout the lest several NHL Draft features it has been firmly established that the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) should have a big day on October 6th – Round 1 of the 2020 Draft. After featuring top prospects from the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Ontario Hockey League (OHL), it is time to square in on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

After the World Junior Championship tournament concluded, it became clear that the first overall pick would be QMJHL sensation, Alex Lafrenière of the Rimouski Océanic. Lafrenière will be the third Océanic player in the last 22 years to be taken with the NHL’s first overall selection. The other two: 2004 Stanley Cup Champion, Vincent Lecavalier, and three-time Stanley Cup Champion, Mr. Crosby. Decent company.

First Round Potential from the ‘Q’

After Lafrenière, the QMJHL offers four additional players with first-round potential in 2020. The QMJHL features another strong forward group including Dawson Mercer, Hendrix Lapierre, and Mavrik Bourque. The lone defenceman from the Q is Haligonian, Justin Barron.

Dawson Mercer: Bay Roberts, Newfoundland – Chicoutimi Sagueneens

The 2001, October born right winger hopes to be the 7th Newfoundlander to become an NHL first round selection (can you name the other six?). Mercer began his QMJHL season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs where he collected 42 points (18G, 24A) in 26 games before joining Canada’s 2020 World Junior Gold medal team. After the tournament Mercer was dealt to a stronger Chicoutimi Saguenéens team where he finished with 6 goals and 12 assists before the sudden season cancellation.

Mercer, who models his game after former QMJHL star Patrice Bergeron, is a productive, two-way center that can wear a lot of different hats depending on the situation. Most draft rankings project Mercer to be taken in the mid-region of round one.

Hendrix Lapierre: Gatineau, Quebec – Chicoutimi Saguenéens

Unfortunately for Lapierre, his draft season was shortened by injury [the injury, a neck issue that teams will have undoubtedly done their due diligence on, is supposedly healed]. As a result, the former first overall QMJHL pick only played in 19 games for the Saguenéens during the 2019/20 season.

Despite the turbulent year, Sportsnet Junior hockey expert Sam Cosentino suggests that Lapierre “if healthy, [is] a steal anywhere past 10.” Lapierre’s talent was on full display at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he managed 11 points in only 5 games for the Canadian U18 squad. Given the obvious talent, it will be interesting to track Lapierre’s career in comparison to where he is eventually taken this October.

Mavrik Bourque: Plessisville, PQ – Shawnigan Cataractes

Bourque is described as a crafty and consistent offensive player that thinks his way around the ice very well. His early junior career numbers speak for themselves. In his first two seasons with a ‘young’ Shawnigan team, Bourque has accumulated 125 points (54G, 71A) in 113 games. Slightly undersized at 5’10, the right-handed center but highly intelligent Bourque is expected to be a late 1st or early 2nd round selection.

Justin Barron: Halifax, Nova Scotia – Halifax Mooseheads

Local Halifax product, Justin Barron, has been a member of the Mooseheads over the last three seasons. However, the November 2001 born Barron also had his draft season shortened by injury after a blood clot was found in December ’19. The 6’2, right-shot defenceman who has since fully healed, is noted for his great physical toolbox. Sam Cosentino described Barron as “one of the top skaters and mobile defenders in this draft class.” There have been some questions about his puck decisions, but Barron’s tools and upside should land him a spot late in the day on October 6th, or early in round two on the 7th.

Stay tuned for more draft coverage and commentary as we are now less than 20 days from round 1!

NEXT: Prospect and NHL Draft News: Dominant ‘Theme’ of 2020?

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