Around the QMJHL this week

The QMJHL season is now underway after your Mooseheads kicked things off with a 4-1 last night in Saint John. Today we’ll check out some pro contracts for undrafted goalies, a five-goal game for a new import player to watch for in the Q, suspensions and a flood of players returning from NHL camps.

It appears the Rimouski Oceanic are quickly becoming a team that fans will want to watch after the addition of future star Alexis Lafreniere – taken first overall in June’s QMJHL Draft and his new teammate Dmitry Zavgorodniy. The Russian center was the eighth pick in the CHL Import Draft and made headlines on Saturday when he scored five goals in the Oceanic’s final pre-season game against Shawinigan. Rimouski’s star duo will visit the Mooseheads on February 19th. Mark that one on the calendar.

Despite being a fifth overall pick in the Q, goalie Dereck Baribeau went undrafted in the NHL. However being a 6-foot-6 goalie will get you noticed these days and the Minnesota Wild handed the Quebec Remparts player an invitation to camp and signed him to an entry level contract this week. Saint John Sea Dogs goalie Alex D’Orio also went undrafted in the NHL but turned a training camp invite with the Pittsburgh Penguins into an entry level contract. Both have been returned to their respective junior teams and D’Orio gave up four goals to the Mooseheads in last night’s opener.

Sticking with the Sea Dogs, the team made a late addition to the roster and filled a vacant 20-year-old spot in the process as they signed former WHL goalie Cody Porter. The move was made necessary when backup Matthew Williams went down with an injury in the pre-season.

Several players are missing their teams’ opening games this weekend with suspensions and none bigger than Charlottetown’s Pascal Aquin who was handed eight games for a check to the head against Cape Breton in the pre-season. Screaming Eagles teammates Sacha Roy and Peyton Hoyt will both miss one game as will Moncton’s Jaxon Bellamy and Julien Tessier.

The number of players being returned to their teams from NHL training camps is growing by the day. The Mooseheads will get Arnaud Durandeau back this weekend as he joins Max Fortier and Jocktan Chainey as Halifax players on that list. A player who made a big impact in a short amount of time last season will no doubt put up some huge numbers in Chicoutimi this year. Philadelphia Flyers prospect German Rubstov scored 22 points in 16 games with the Sagueneens after coming over from Russia.

While Max Fortier’s return to the Mooseheads is a major difference maker for the team, Alex Barret-Boulet’s return to the Armada could be equally important. The two players will be among the best overage players in the QMJHL this season and both teams expect to be extremely competitive in the standings. The former Drummondville player has racked up 221 points in his Q career and will look to break the 300-point barrier this year. Very impressive for a 2013 sixth round pick.

One guy we don’t expect to see in this league again has had a pretty good start to the NHL pre-season with two goals in two games, including one on all-world goalie Carey Price. This was a clever tweet from last night. Keep it up Nico!

The Mooseheads continue the season opening road trip this weekend when they visit the Charlottetown Islanders on Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Arnaud Durandeau will be in the lineup for the first time since returning from New York while Connor Moynihan returns after serving a one-game suspension. Prospects Gavin Hart and Cole Stewart have both been returned to their Maritime Hockey League teams. The Mooseheads will also re-evaluate the status of defenceman Jared McIsaac who left Thursday’s game in the first period with an injury and did not return.

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