Four straight on the road couldn’t have gone much better for the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The Volts won all four, scoring at least six goals in each victory while receiving exciting news along the way.
Canadian National Junior Team gold medalist and QMJHL standout Maxime Comtois will join the club this coming weekend after being returned by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Comtois, who was acquired by Drummondville from rival Victoriaville over the offseason, had a strong showing in sunny California recording seven points (2-5–7) over 10 games before being sidelined with an injury on October 23rd. Comtois recorded a goal in four games on a conditioning assignment with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls prior to being informed that he’d be headed to Drummondville.
“I had a good camp and a good start to the season and I worked hard,” said Comtois via conference call on Monday. “I’m coming back here with a team that wants to go for the Cup and we’re all in the same boat and we want to win here.”
Comtois joins the Voltigeurs just as they’re hitting their stride. Detroit Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno was the star of the show, earning Ultramar QMJHL Player of the Week honours with 10 points (5-5–10) in road wins over Saint John, Moncton and Halifax. The 18-6-1-0 Volts have risen to second in the QMJHL’s Western Conference.
“Veleno had a great weekend, like (Nicolas) Beaudin, (Olivier) Rodrigue and our entire team,” Voltigeurs first year head coach Steve Hartley told the Journal Express’ Jonathan Habashi following Sunday’s 6-3 win before a crowd of over 8,000 in Halifax. “Our 22 players have contributed in their own way, with a big presence on the ice.”
Veleno is currently fourth in QMJHL scoring with 38 points including the league’s third-highest total of 17 goals and he’s not the only one producing. Overage centreman Gregor MacLeod sits second in team scoring with 29 points (13-16–29) over 23 games followed by Felix Lauzon with 27 (12-15–27) and captain Nicolas Guay with 25 (10-15–25).
On the back end, Chicago Blackhawks first round pick Nicolas Beaudin (3-15–18) remains one of the QMJHL’s elite puck-moving defencemen while big 6-foot-3, 204Ib. New Jersey Devils prospect Xavier Bernard (4-8–12) brings a physical edge to the blue line.
Edmonton Oilers prospect Olivier Rodrigue, a former Hlinka Memorial Cup gold medalist, has been outstanding between the pipes, winning each of his last eight games while playing to a 1.83 goals-against average and .932 save percentage so far in the month of November.
“We don’t want to settle for just this weekend,” Hartley said of his club’s recent success. “We still have eight games left before the holiday break and then it will be the last sprint before the playoffs. We want to continue moving forward. Our goal remains the same, to progress each day as a team into the playoffs.”
Comtois will be making his Voltigeurs debut when he joins the club next weekend for home games against Gatineau on Friday and Blainville-Boisbriand on Sunday.
The Volts have their sights set on the club’s first QMJHL title since 2009, a season that saw them play to a 54-10-0-4 record during the regular season with eventual NHL regulars in rookie Sean Couturier, winger Mike Hoffman, defenceman Dmitry Kulikov and 100-point scorers Yannick Riendeau and Dany Masse.
With the addition of Comtois, the Voltigeurs become a little more noticeable as they make their return to the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings.
The KIA CHL Top 10 Spotlight takes a closer look at one team from the weekly KIA CHL Top 10 Rankings.
Past KIA CHL Top 10 Spotlight editions:
Sept. 26, 2018 – Halifax Mooseheads
Oct. 4, 2018 – London Knights
Oct. 11, 2018 – Victoria Royals
Oct. 18, 2018 – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Oct. 25, 2018 – Prince Albert Raiders
Nov. 1, 2018 – Ottawa 67’s
Nov. 8, 2018 – Moncton Wildcats
Nov. 15, 2018 – Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Nov. 22, 2018 – Red Deer Rebels