With the 2019-20 campaign concluded, the Canadian Hockey League is highlighting players who are graduating including many moving up to the pro ranks and others to academic programs next season.
The six-part series continues with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Western Conference.
The Drummondville Voltigeurs will see the departure of three overage players including starting netminder Anthony Morrone who shined this season in winning 23 of his 39 appearances. The 21-year-old finished with an impressive 2.89 goals-against-average over his three year career and will continue his has hockey and academic pursuits with the Concordia University Stingers in 2020-21.
Also graduating from the Voltigeurs are Brandon Skubel who played three full seasons in Drummondville recording 115 points in 178 games, and Mathieu Charlebois who played in 240 career contests with different five clubs over four seasons in the QMJHL.
A pair of players are set to move on from the Shawinigan Cataractes beginning with 1999-born left-wing Maxim Trepanier (Concordia University) who closes out his QMJHL tenure having recorded 147 points in 171 total contests with four different clubs including Rimouski, Gatineau, and Halifax before joining the Cataractes for the final 23 games of his career.
The team will also see the departure of 1999-born defenceman and alternate captain Jordan Lepage who enjoyed just one season in Shawinigan after splitting parts of three seasons with Halifax and Rimouski over a 230 game period.
The first-place Sherbrooke Phoenix will have a new look next season with no less than five players in a likely position to graduate, headlined by 2019-20 leading scorer Felix Robert whose 92-point performance ranked third-place league-wide and set a single season franchise record. The veteran forward has hopes of turning pro next season or will join the University of Moncton and play for les Aigles Bleu.
Also graduating from the Phoenix are fellow overage forwards Charles-Antoine Roy who is committed to the University of Ottawa and will play for the Gee-Gees after spending the majority of his three QMJHL seasons in his hometown Gatineau. Alex-Olivier Voyer who led the team with 44 goals and finished his five-year career with 203 points has signed an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins. In addition, 2000-born import forward Taro Jentzsch will return home to his native Germany and play for the Iserlohn Roosters, while 2000-born defenceman Samuel Bolduc has the opportunity to turn pro after recently inking his entry-level contract with the New York Islanders.
The Victoriaville Tigres will see a trio of overage players graduate headlined by 1999-born rearguard Jerome Gravel whose 41-point season nearly doubled his previous career high and ranked third in team scoring. The native of Chambord, Que., who played in 256 career games will compete with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees for the coming campaign.
Other graduates from Victoriaville include forwards Thomas Ethier who departs after playing just 23 of his 241 career games with the team and will suit up for the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres next season, and Anthony Poulin destined for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees after closing out his 250-game QMJHL career serving as captain of the Tigres.
Four players are set to graduate from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada led by 21-year-old starting netminder Emile Samson who posted a .909 save percentage through 47 appearances this season. After spending all three years of his junior career with the Armada, Samson will continue on his hockey and academic path at the University of Moncton next season.
Also graduating from the Armada is 1999-born forward Antoine Demers who played in 249 career games as well as overage defencemen Yann-Felix Lapointe who played in 218 career games and will join Samson at the University of Moncton. William Cyr, whose season was cut short due to injury, will get a fresh star at McGill University looking back on a career that included a Memorial Cup championship with Rouyn-Noranda in 2019.
After acquiring a pair of veteran voices at this year’s trade deadline, the Gatineau Olympiques will now see both overage players graduate, headlined by 1999-born forward Adam Capannelli who impressed with 12 points in an abbreviated 18-game stint with Gatineau and recently committed to Concordia University.
The Olympiques will also see the departure of overage defenceman Vincent Martineau who will join Capannelli on the Stingers closing out his QMJHL career with 129 total games as part of three different teams.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will have a new look next season following the potential departures of up to four players beginning with fifth-year forward Louis-Filip Cote who finished third in team scoring in 2019-20 after amassing 45 points through 63 appearances. The Laurier-Station, Que., native closes out his QMJHL career with 155 points in 300 total games and a Memorial Cup title.
Also graduating from the Huskies are overage forwards Vincent Marleau who hoisted the Memorial Cup alongside Cote and played all 194 of his QMJHL games with Rouyn-Noranda, and Shaun Miller who departs having played just 22 of his 256 career games with the club. 2000-born netminder Zachary Emond is a signed San Jose Sharks prospect who is eligible to join the minor-pro ranks next season.
Lastly, three players are set to move on from the Val-d’Or Foreurs led by overage forward and 2019-20 leading scorer Nicolas Ouellet who pushed the pace offensively with 50 points in 48 games this season and finishes his career with 153 points in 217 games that began when the club chose him in the ninth round of the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft. Ouellet will join the University of Ottawa in the coming campaign.
Other graduates from Val-d’Or include fellow overagers Peyton Hoyt (Acadia University) who played in 249 career games with stops in Cape Breton and Blainville-Boisbriand along the way, and captain David Noel who is headed to the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres to play for the Patriotes after wearing the ‘C’ for the final two seasons during his 233-game career played mostly with the Foreurs.