QMJHL notes and thoughts
Clash of the heavyweights
Two of the best teams in the league went head-to-head last night and it wasn’t pretty for the goalies. Blainville-Boisbriand took over first place in the QMJHL standings with a 7-5 win over Quebec. Alex Barre-Boulet had a big game with two goals and three assists for the Armada. He’s now in the top five in league scoring.
Things have been tight in the standings all season with first place and 14th place only separated by 10 points. That fact should affect the trade market by driving up the price for sought after players. The Christmas trading period runs from Monday, December 18th to Saturday January 6th. There are the big names like Joe Veleno and P-O Joseph that are being tossed around in rumours but what about a guy like forward Samuel Asselin in Shawinigan? He’s a 1998 birth year putting up good numbers on a team destined to miss the playoffs. Could be a great addition and make for a good 20-year-old next year.
European players can be dealt at any time and we’ve seen a couple of big ones in recent weeks but how are they doing? Vitalii Abramov hasn’t exactly ignited the Tigres offense yet. He three assists in three games and Victoriaville is 1-1-0-1 since his arrival. German Rubstov has made an impact in Bathurst. The Titan have won five of the six games he’s played in. Rubstov has two goals and five assists but the injury bug hit him again on the weekend. He was a late scratch on Sunday vs Sherbrooke because of an undisclosed injury.
The Drummondville Voltigeurs added another 20-year-old to the mix on Tuesday. The Volts sent a 2018 5th round pick to Blainville for left winger Connor Bramwell. The Hamilton, ON native scored 22 goals for the Armada last season. He had a goal and an assist in his first game last night to help Drummondville beat Rimouski in overtime.
Everything had been going right for Drake Batherson since getting drafted by the Ottawa Senators in June. He was off to a terrific start this season with Cape Breton by leading the QMJHL in scoring and putting his name on Hockey Canada’s radar for the World Juniors. He was dealt a considerable blow on Sunday when his hands were slashed by Moncton’s Dylan Seitz. Batherson has a fractured hand and is out until mid-December. Seitz picked up a three-game suspension.
Nearly World Junior time
The cold weather has settled in and it’s really starting to feel like hockey season now. Soon we’ll be focusing on the World Junior Hockey Championship which takes place this year in Buffalo, NY. Mooseheads Equipment Manager Chris MacDonald will once again be on the bench for Dominique Ducharme’s team Canada and will be part of the much-hyped outdoor game vs USA on Friday, December 29th. Moose fans will also be watching star Filip Zadina who should be a no-brainer to make the Czech Republic team. The way Otto Somppi is playing he might make a case for himself with Finland too. It looks like a down year for Canadian QMJHL talent. Only Pierre-Luc Dubois and Samuel Girard were invited to the summer development camp and they are both now plying their trade in the NHL.
Martin Frk, who scored in the Wings’ 4-0 win in Edmonton Nov. 5, missed his fourth game with a groin injury last night against the Oilers. “He skated on his own yesterday and today,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Wednesday. “We’re going to have a light practice tomorrow, we don’t skate Friday, probably not going to skate as a team on Saturday, so certainly it would lead to having a couple practices next week before he’d be anywhere near ready, so he’s at least another week away from today.” The former Mooseheads forward has six goals and three assists in 18 games this season with Detroit. (Notes from NHL.com/RedWings)