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

 

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

Baie-Comeau Drakkar

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 35-25-5-3, 78 Points (4th in East Division)
2015-16: 14-49-2-3, 33 Points (6th in East Division) ▼
2016-17: 26-32-6-4, 62 Points (5th in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 30-33-4-1, 65 Points (4th in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 49-15-2-2, 102 Points (2nd in East Division) ▲

Best Playoff Result: 2015 – Lost 4-3 vs. Val-d’Or in Round 2

Need to Know

Head Coach: Jon Goyens, 1st Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 2/26 (LW) Drew Elliott (Vito Midget AAA de Saint John)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/45 (RW) Valentin Demchenko (Team Belarus U18)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (G) Dereck Baribeau (Minnesota), (LW) Ivan Chekhovich (San Jose), (D) Pascal Corbeil, (LW) Samuel L’Italien, (RW) Jordan Martel, (G) Alex D’Orio (Pittsburgh)
NHL Prospects: (D) Xavier Bouchard (Vegas, 6/185, 2018), (C) Gabriel Fortier (Tampa Bay, 2/59, 2018), (RW) Nathan Legare (Pittsburgh, 3/74, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (RW) Nathan Legare
On the Horizon: (LW) Raivis Kristians Ansons

The Drakkar made major strides last season seeing a 37-point improvement. And although much of that core has since moved on, there are some key returnees including scoring forward Nathan Legare. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect notched 87 points in 2018-19 to finish second in team scoring and will once again be looked toward as one of the club’s top offensive contributors. Joining Legare up front is Latvian-born forward Raivis Kristians Ansons, a 2020 NHL Draft hopeful who will make his debut with Baie-Comeau this fall.

Chicoutimi Sagueneens

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 29-32-4-3, 65 Points (5th in East Division)
2015-16: 32-25-5-6, 76 Points (3rd in East Division) ▲
2016-17: 38-25-3-2, 81 Points (2nd in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 28-35-4-1, 61 Points (5th in East Division) ▼
2018-19: 39-22-3-4, 85 Points (3rd in East Division) ▲

Best Playoff Result: 2017 – Lost 4-2 vs. Saint John in Round 3

Need to Know

Head Coach: Yanick Jean, 5th Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 1/18 (D) Oscar Plandowski (Selects Academy 15’s Nat at South Kent School)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/33 (D) Harijs Brants (Riga SK Riga)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (LW) Zachary Lavigne, (LW) Liam Murphy, (D) Morgan Nauss
NHL Prospects: (D) Jeremy Groleau (New Jersey, Free Agent, 2018), (C) Samuel Houde (Montreal, 5/133, 2018), (D) Artemi Kniazev (San Jose, 2/48, 2019), (RW) Vladislav Kotkov (San Jose, Free Agent, 2018)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (RW) Vladislav Kotkov
On the Horizon: (C) Hendrix Lapierre

The Sagueneens have one of the most promising young talents in the circuit in budding centre Hendrix Lapierre, the first-overall selection from the 2018 QMJHL Entry Draft who made an immediate impact as a freshman last season in recording 45 points in 48 games to earn a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie Team. A projected early selection in the coming NHL draft, Lapierre will lead the offense for Chicoutimi this season, while returning forward and San Jose Sharks signee Vladislav Kotkov will provide solid secondary support.

Quebec Remparts

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 40-25-1-2, 83 Points (2nd in East Division)
2015-16: 28-33-6-1, 63 Points (5th in East Division) ▼
2016-17: 31-30-4-3, 69 Points (4th in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 40-22-3-3, 86 Points (3rd in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 27-28-7-6, 67 Points (4th in East Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2015 – Lost 4-3 vs. Rimouski in President’s Cup Final

Need to Know

Head Coach: Patrick Roy*, 2nd Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 1/8 (C) Nathan Gaucher (Gaulois St-Hyacinthe)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/24 (LW) Yu Sato (K-Vantaa B)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Sam Dunn, (C) Philipp Kurashev (Chicago), (C) Luke Kutkevicius, (D) Etienne Verrette
NHL Prospects: (C) Felix Bibeau (N.Y. Islanders, 6/178, 2019)

*Roy enters his 10th cumulative season with the Remparts after serving as head coach from 2005-13.

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (C) Felix Bibeau
On the Horizon: (LW) Yu Sato

The Remparts brought in solid leadership this offseason in veteran forward Felix Bibeau, who joins his new club after capturing the Memorial Cup with Rouyn-Noranda last spring. The New York Islanders prospect finished 2018-19 with 69 points and will be a top contributor with Quebec following some key departures to the forward ranks. This season will also see the club introduce its top pick from the 2019 CHL Import Draft, 2020 NHL Draft prospect and Japan native Yu Sato who competed in Finland last year.

Rimouski Oceanic

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 47-16-3-2, 99 Points (1st in East Division)
2015-16: 36-25-5-2, 79 Points (2nd in East Division) ▼
2016-17: 26-35-6-1, 59 Points (6th in East Division) ▼
2017-18: 42-17-6-3, 93 Points (1st in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 44-20-4-0, 92 Points (2nd in East Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2015 – Won 4-3 vs. Quebec in President’s Cup Final

Need to Know

Head Coach: Serge Beausoleil, 9th Season
2019 QMJHL Entry Draft (Top Pick): 1/14 (C) Zachary Bolduc (Les Estacades de Trois-Rivires)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/42 (RW) Adam Raska (Frydek-Mistek HC)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Charle-Edouard D’Astous, (LW) Olivier Garneau, (C) Jimmy Huntington (Tampa Bay)
NHL Prospects: (G) Colten Ellis (St. Louis, 3/93, 2019), (RW) Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Calgary, 7/198, 2018)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (G) Colten Ellis
On the Horizon: (LW) Alexis Lafreniere

All eyes will be on Oceanic superstar Alexis Lafreniere, the favourite to be selected first overall in the coming NHL draft. The budding star was a dominant force with Rimouski last season, tallying 105 points in only 61 appearances to earn recognition as the CHL Player of the Year. While Lafreniere will be the key cog in his team’s offensive machine, the squad will also get strong support from returning netminder and St. Louis Blues prospect Colten Ellis, who posted a .910 save percentage across 46 games in 2018-19.

Last 5 Years: QMJHL’s East Division

graph_q_east

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
Day 9 – QMJHL’s Central Division
Day 10 – WHL’s East Division
Day 11 – OHL’s West Division

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