This article is one of two today (other is HERE) that kick off a series of articles that will run during the week leading up to the 2017 NHL Draft. The series will feature ‘from the rink’ insight from scouts and writers who track the players during the season. Please bookmark our “Carolina Hurricanes 2017 NHL Draft Central” where you can find up to date clickable links for all of our draft coverage.
About the Scout/Writer
Scott Wheeler (Twitter=@scottcwheeler) is a Toronto Star reporter. Scott has also worked previously at The Athletic-Toronto, SB Nation, the Toronto Sun and the PGA TOUR on the journalism side. He has also scouted NHL prospects for the last five years for McKeen’s Hockey and Future Considerations.
Scouting the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Hurricanes 2017 NHL Draft
Canes and Coffee: Is there a possible QMJHL prospect who could be in the mix for the Carolina Hurricanes with the #12overall selection?
Scott Wheeler: After Nico Hischier at second overall, you likely don’t see a QMJHL prospect taken until later in the first round (probably Maxime Comtois). Instead, the Canes should be looking at options that range from Swedish forwards Elias Pettersson and Lias Andersson to defencemen such as Juuso Valimaki and Timothy Liljegren.
There really isn’t a realistic option at 12th overall and reaching on a player like Comtois doesn’t do anybody any good. He didn’t develop like many expected he would offensively this season and that’s a huge concern if you’re looking at him in the top 15 of this class.
Canes and Coffee: Which couple QMJHL players do you like in the second round which is currently scheduled to be a busy one for the Hurricanes who currently have three second-round selections?
Scott Wheeler: There are several QMJHL players I like in the second round as potential steals. Despite his size, Antoine Morand is a gifted forward worth considering in the middle of the second round. And defencemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph is one of the more gifted offensive defencemen in the class and absolutely worth a look closer to the top of the second round if he’s still available.
Canes and Coffee: Which couple QMJHL players do you like in the third round where the Hurricanes currently have two picks?
Scott Wheeler: Again, in the third round, you’re looking at a number of options who could be potential steals if they’re still available. Ivan Chekhovich, for example, offers a team high-end offensive flair and upside despite being on the smaller side. You could also still be looking at a player like Maxime Fortier, who I had pegged as a top-60 talent in last year’s class but who somehow went undrafted. He had another big year in Halifax and deserves to be a top-100 pick in his second crack at the NHL Draft. Joel Teasdale is another player who deserves attention in the third round. Again, he’s not tall, but Teasdale is over 200 pounds now and he plays a heavy, possession-driven game.
Canes and Coffee: Which 3-5 QMJHL players who you really like who might be available in middle to later rounds (rounds 4-7) of the 2017 NHL draft?
Scott Wheeler: In the later rounds, some high-ceiling options include forwards Joly D’Artagnan, Denis Mihknin, Yaroslav Alexeyev, and Pavel Koltygin as well as defencemen Jocktan Chainey and Mathieu Charlebois, though D’Artagnan and Mihknin also deserve consideration in the third round. While each will likely be selected, I’d steer clear of Samuel Bucek, Derek Gentile, Ivan Kozlov, and Arnaud Durandeau unless it’s later in the class. I’d also caution against Antoine Crete-Belzile, who is one of the more overrated prospects in the 2017 class by most scouts.
Canes and Coffee extends a huge thank you to Scott Wheeler for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Quebec Major Junior Hockey League prospects who could be part of the Carolina Hurricanes 2017 draft class!