The 2021 NHL Entry Draft is quickly approaching, and for the 12th consecutive year at least one player from your Halifax Mooseheads will have his name called from the podium.
Forward Zachary L’Heureux, defenceman Cam Whynot and forward Bobby Orr are listed 30th, 44th and 76th respectively in the NHL Central Scouting Rankings for eligible North American Skaters. Import forward Attilio Biasca was left off the final list after being pegged by Central Scouting as a potential 4th-6th round pick in January.
The first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft will be held on Friday, July 23rd at 8pm ET on Sportsnet, while the remaining rounds are scheduled for Saturday, July 24th at 11am ET. The draft will be held virtually for the second straight year due to COVID-19.
Halifax has had at least one player drafted from the Mooseheads organization every year since 2010, highlighted by first round picks Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Nikolaj Ehlers, Timo Meier, Nico Hischier, Filip Zadina and Justin Barron.
Zachary L’Heureux joined the Mooseheads prior to the 2020-21 season as part of a trade with the Moncton Wildcats that also brought Elliot Desnoyers to the team. Desnoyers was subsequently drafted in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft which was held last October. L’Heureux finished second to Desnoyers in team scoring for the Herd with 39 points in 33 games. The power forward scored 19 goals and 20 assists while posting 47 penalty minutes.
“He just has so many intangibles. He plays with an edge; he’s got a little bit of Brad Marchand in him but at the same time he makes high-end skilled plays. He sees the ice very well and his hockey IQ is tremendous, and he can finish.
“When you put all of those attributes together, they will not only help him take the next step at the pro level someday but will also be a huge factor in helping our hockey club next season,” said Mooseheads Head Coach Sylvain Favreau.
L’Heureux had an excellent rookie season in Moncton in 2019-20 when he led all 16-year-old players in the QMJHL with 53 points while playing with a strong Wildcats team. He enjoyed a good first season with Halifax but also dealt with some adversity which included missing 13 games due to four separate suspensions.
“I think Zach has learned from last season and getting those new responsibilities and now we’re expecting his game to mature and for him to be a leader for us this coming season.”
Favreau says NHL scouts have taken notice of L’Heureux because he is a multi-dimensional player.
“I think when you have a player that is highly skilled, that can play with an edge and is not afraid to engage himself not only physically but just really getting himself engaged in the game is attractive to scouts. He has the mentality that he will not lose a race or a battle and that’s when you create something special.”
Cam Whynot finished the season with six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 34 games. He led the Mooseheads in +/- with a rating of +13 in his second season on the blue line with Halifax. The Kentville, NS native was dealt to the Moose for forward Xavier Parent shortly after being drafted 9th overall in the 2019 QMJHL Entry Draft by Sherbrooke.
“Cam has the tools to be an elite player. He has great skating abilities along with very good deception and puck skills and he can see the ice very well.
He is using this summer to get stronger so he can defend against bigger and older players but that’s part of the growing process especially for a defenceman. We saw the same sort of thing with Justin Barron maturing from a 16-year-old all the way through with our team.”
Favreau said Whynot is on the verge of taking a major step forward in development and leadership with the Mooseheads.
“I think that he’s definitely going to develop into an impactful defenceman in this league. He has learned to appreciate his own abilities, which I think at times he didn’t realize that he had them. Now it’s just a matter of having the confidence in himself to be a go-to guy and he’s going to have that opportunity with us this year.”
Bobby Orr enjoyed a fantastic rookie season with Halifax as a 17-year-old following an offseason trade from Saint John. The forward is a talented skater and playmaker and finished third in team scoring with 32 points while playing up and down the Halifax lineup. He scored 15 goals and 17 assists in 41 games to finish atop the QMJHL rookie scoring race.
“I think first and foremost, he’s a natural athlete. He competes hard and you know he can be a real game changer. We saw it last year with timely goals that were huge for us.
When he puts his mind to competing hard, everything else seems to follow for him. He has tremendous skating ability and he’s strong on puck protection, so we’ll be looking for big things from him in his progression. That can certainly translate at the professional level for him.”
Favreau feels that Orr could become a special player at the next level someday.
“For me, Bobby is definitely going to be a sleeper for an NHL team that decides to pick him.”
Fans will have the opportunity to cheer on these three exciting players along with the rest of the compelling young Mooseheads roster this season at the Home Opener in Moose Country vs Cape Breton on Saturday, October at 7pm.
Ticket Information will be released later this summer.