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Our 18 | Removed from last year’s spotlight, Mooseheads could continue to make a name for themselves

QMJHL

 

The Halifax Mooseheads captivated the national junior hockey stage last spring. After coming within two games of a President Cup title and two periods of a Memorial Cup championship, the current edition of the club should remain competitive while taking the first steps towards reaching those lofty heights once again.

Last year saw the Moose capture the Eastern Conference crown on the final day of the regular season thanks to a 49-win, 102-point campaign. Though a veteran-laden squad, no less than a dozen players from that roster will make their way back to Halifax to start the year.

Up front, this includes Anaheim Ducks prospect and former first-overall QMJHL selection Benoit-Olivier Groulx. He’ll be joined by 2019 Edmonton Oilers draftee Raphael Lavoie and overager Maxim Trepanier. 2018 QMJHL first rounder Samuel Dube will embark on his first full season in the “Q” while Belgian Senna Peeters makes his debut after being selected in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.

On the back end, four players from last year’s squad will be in the lineup. Detroit Red Wings prospect Jared McIsaac, still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, will likely miss much of the first half of the season. On opening night, 2020 NHL Draft prospect Justin Barron and 20-year-olds Walter Flower and Patrick Kyte should be ready to go. Joining them will be Jason Horvath, acquired from the Shawinigan Cataractes during training camp, as well as Cameron Whynot, picked up from Sherbrooke in the off-season after being drafted 9th overall by the Phoenix at the 2019 QMJHL Draft. Between the pipes, the tandem of Alexis Gravel and Cole McLaren is back to hold down the fort for a second consecutive year after allowing just 164 regular season goals in 2018-19.

Overseeing all of this is a new head coach, the franchise’s fifth in as many years. Former NHL defenseman and QMJHL Hall of Famer Jean-Jacques Daigneault will be tasked with guiding this transitioning Mooseheads squad.

Although the spotlight will not shine quite as bright on the Mooseheads this season, make no mistake; this year’s edition should be more than capable of holding its own against the rest of the league.

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2018-2019 Mooseheads Stats:

Team Record 49-15-2-2 — 102 points
Division Ranking 1st Maritimes
Conference Ranking 1st Eastern
League Ranking 3rd
Home Record 25-5-2-2
Away Record 24-10-0-0
GF 300
GA 164
PP (Overall) (69/246) 28.0%
PK (Overall) (39/270) 85.6%
Leading Rookie (PTS) Barinka (7-11-18)
Leading Scorers (PTS) Asselin (48-38-86)
  Groulx (31-49-80)
  Durandeau (38-35-73)
  Lavoie (32-41-73)
  Morand (22-48-70)
2019 Playoffs *Lost in final (2-4 vs. ROU)

 

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