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2019-20 CHL Season Preview Series: QMJHL’s Central Division

 

Day 9 of a 12-day coast-to-coast series previewing the 2019-20 Canadian Hockey League season features the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Central Division:

Drummondville Voltigeurs

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 26-38-1-3, 56 Points (6th in West Division)
2015-16: 27-39-2-0, 56 Points (6th in West Division) ◀▶
2016-17: 28-34-1-5, 62 Points (4th in West Division) ▲
2017-18: 44-20-3-1, 92 Points (2nd in West Division) ▲
2018-19: 52-13-2-1, 107 Points (1st in Central Division) ▲

Best Playoff Result: 2019 – Lost 4-2 vs. Halifax in Round 3

Need to Know

Head Coach: Steve Hartley, 2nd Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 2/28 (C) Elliot Lavoie (Les Chevaliers de Levis)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/51 (D) Thimo Nickl (Klagenfurter EC KAC)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Nicolas Beaudin (Chicago), (LW) Maxime Comtois (Anaheim), (D) Marc-Olivier Duquette, (D) Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Pittsburgh), (C) Felix Lauzon, (LW) Gregor MacLeod
NHL Prospects: (C) Joe Veleno (Detroit, 1/30, 2018)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (C) Joe Veleno
On the Horizon: (RW) Dawson Mercer

The exceptional Joe Veleno will shoot for a spot with the Detroit Red Wings this fall, but should the savvy scorer require more seasoning, he could return to Drummondville for 2019-20. The 19-year-old finished last season with 104 points, ranking third-best league wide. However, should Veleno not rejoin the Voltigeurs this year, his absence will create greater opportunity for the team’s next wave of talent, including 2020 NHL Draft eligible winger Dawson Mercer, who wrapped up his sophomore campaign with 64 points across 68 games.

Shawinigan Cataractes

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 39-26-1-2, 81 Points (3rd in East Division)
2015-16: 44-19-4-1, 93 Points (1st in East Division) ▲
2016-17: 42-40-4-2, 90 Points (1st in East Division) ▼
2017-18: 16-45-6-1, 39 Points (6th in East Division) ▼
2018-19: 14-49-2-3, 33 Points (4th in Central Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2016 – Lost 4-1 vs. Rouyn-Noranda in President’s Cup Final

Need to Know

Head Coach: Daniel Renaud, 3rd Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 1/5 (RW) Olivier Nadeau (Les Chevaliers de Levis)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/9 (C) Vasily Ponomarev (Moscow Krylia Sovetov)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (RW) Jan Drozg (Pittsburgh), (LW) Jeremy Manseau, (D) Colin Paradis, (RW) Vincent Senez
NHL Prospects: (LW) Valentin Nussbaumer (Arizona, 7/207, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (LW) Valentin Nussbaumer
On the Horizon: (C) Mavrik Bourque

The Arizona Coyotes took a late flier on Swiss-born Valentin Nussbaumer in this summer’s draft, a selection that could prove fruitful after a successful first season with the Cataractes saw him register 38 points in 58 contests, while the talented skater also earned an appearance at the Top Prospects Showcase. Nussbaumer will once again be a vital offensive contributor for Shawinigan in 2019-20, as will 2020 NHL Draft hopeful Mavrik Bourque, a projected early selection who finished second in team scoring last season with 25 goals and 29 assists.

Sherbrooke Phoenix

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 36-26-2-4, 78 Points (3rd in West Division)
2015-16: 24-35-7-2, 57 Points (5th in West Division) ▼
2016-17: 26-38-1-3, 56 Points (6th in West Division) ▼
2017-18: 34-23-7-4, 79 Points (4th in West Division) ▲
2018-19: 36-27-2-3, 77 Points (2nd in Central Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2019 – Lost 4-1 vs. Drummondville in Round 2

Need to Know

Head Coach: Stephane Julien, 4th Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 1/9 (D) Cameron Whynot (Swapper Wildcats Midget Majeur de Valley Sport)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/27 (G) Samuel Hlavaj (Lincoln Stars)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Ryan DaSilva, (RW) Bobby Dow, (D) Michael Kemp
NHL Prospects: (LW) Samuel Poulin (Pittsburgh, 1/21, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (LW) Samuel Poulin
On the Horizon: (C) Patrick Guay

After leading the club with 76 points in 2018-19, budding scorer Samuel Poulin is set to return to the Phoenix this season where he will once again be looked toward to headline the team’s offensive ranks. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect is also likely to receive strong secondary scoring support from 17-year-old forward Patrick Guay, whose modest freshman campaign saw him collect 18 goals and 18 assists.

Victoriaville Tigres

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 27-34-3-4, 61 Points (6th in East Division)
2015-16: 33-28-3-4, 73 Points (4th in East Division) ▲
2016-17: 35-25-6-2, 78 Points (3rd in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 42-20-4-2, 90 Points (2nd in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 30-33-4-1, 65 Points (3rd in Central Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2018 – Lost 4-0 vs. Acadie-Bathurst in Round 3

Need to Know

Head Coach: Louis Robitaille, 4th Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 1/7 (D) Guillaume Richard (Le Blizzard du Seminaire Saint-Francois)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): N/A
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Dominic Cormier, (C) Simon Lafrance, (LW) Mathieu Sevigny
NHL Prospects: (C) Mikhail Abramov (Toronto, 4/115, 2019), (RW) Egor Serdyuk (Philadelphia, 6/165, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (RW) Egor Serdyuk
On the Horizon: (RW) Conor Frenette

The Philadelphia Flyers got solid value when they selected right-wing Egor Serdyuk in the sixth-round of this summer’s draft, considering the Russian-born forward showed a quick ability to adapt to North American ice as he topped the charts with 65 points in 63 games in his first season with the Tigres. As Serdyuk continues to build his game in Victoriaville, he will be joined up front by fellow forward Conor Frenette, who registered 27 points as a freshman in 2018-19.

Last 5 Years: QMJHL’s Central Division

graph_q_central

2019-20 CHL Season Preview Series

Day 1 – WHL’s B.C. Division
Day 2 – OHL’s Central Division
Day 3 – QMJHL’s West Division
Day 4 – WHL’s Central Division
Day 5 – OHL’s Midwest Division
Day 6 – QMJHL’s Maritimes Division
Day 7 – WHL’s U.S. Division
Day 8 – OHL’s East Division

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