Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel and forward Louis Leblanc will join goaltender Jean-Francois Berube as candidates to make the roster.
Leblanc came close last season after being one of the team's final cuts. Injured at that time, Leblanc will need to stay healthy in order to better his chances to crack the lineup this time around.
During the past 2 years the Montreal Juniors have seen 3 of their players represent Canada at this tournament. In 2009 forward Angelo Esposito won gold for Canada at the tournament held in Ottawa. In 2010 goaltender Jake Allen won the Silver Medal for Canada as he played along side ex-Montreal Junior forward Luke Adam.
HockeyPoints wishes the best of luck to Mr. Roussel, Leblanc and Berube!!!
Monday, June 28, 2010
J-F BERUBE FOLLOWING IN JAKE ALLEN'S FOOTSTEPS - INVITED TO CANADIAN NATIONAL JUNIOR TEAM SELECTION CAMP
Berube has been invited to Hockey Canada's National Junior Selection Camp with the hope of earning one of two roster spots on a team that will compete in the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships. Three other goaltenders were invited to the camp; Olivier Roy (Acadie Bathurst Titan - QMJHL), Mark Visentin (Niagra IceDogs - OHL), Calvin Pickard (Seattle Thunderbirds - WHL).
At the start of last season Montreal boasted the strongest goaltending dual in the QMJHL (probably even throughout the entire CHL) lead by Jake Allen who held the starting role and Berube who acted as the backup.
Allen went on to win the starting job between the pipes for Team Canada at the 2010 WJHC. He was later named the CHL's Most Outstanding Goaltender.
Playing behind Allen and seeing what he was able to accomplish during the past 12 months must have motivated Berube to get to the level he's reached. No different than Allen, Berube's numbers haven't been mind boggling while playing for an average Montreal team during the past two seasons however he's shown the scouts he has enough poise to keep his team in a game even when facing 40 plus shots, a regular occurrence in Montreal last season.
During the 2008-2009 campaign Berube earned a 2.66 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. In 2009-2010 his numbers were slightly worse as he posted a 3.03 GAA and a .897 SP - this of course was due to playing with a younger / less experienced Montreal team compared to that of the prior year.
Berube's story has already played out like a fairy tale. He was never drafted into the Q. As a 17 year old he made the Juniors on a tryout basis. Then, after his rookie season, Berube was drafted by the LA Kings in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL entry draft. During the summer of '09 he was invited to Hockey Canada's goaltending development camp. In 2010 Berube was called-up to the LA Kings American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, and played in three games.
The next 6 months will be vastly important for Berube. Should he earn a spot on Canada's National Junior team the fairy tail story will become even better.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Ouellet is one of fourteen blue liners who will try to crack the lineup. Four other "Q" defensemen were invited to the camp including ex-Junior, now a Shawinigan Cataractes, Dillon Donnelly.
Seven of the fourteen defenseman will stick with the team to compete in the 2010 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament which is scheduled to take place August 10th to the 14th. Slovakia and the Czech Republic are the host nations.
Last season Ouellet was a rookie for Montreal and displayed excellent poise on the blue line. Dispite suffering a wrist injury at the start of the season, Ouellet finished his year with 2 goals and 14 assists in 43 games played. He added 22 PIMS and finshed the year with a +/- rating of +4.
Making this team would act as a large stepping stone in Ouellet's career. Often times players who represent Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament continue on to represent Canada at the U-20 World Junior Hockey Championships. The exposure to NHL scouts while playing at these tournaments can lead to a player being drafted earlier in the NHL entry draft.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Departed Players (position - name - sent to):
- F - Guillaume Asselin - Chicoutimi
- F - Loic Poudrier - Shawinigan
- D - Dillon Donnelly - Shawinigan
Acquired Players (position - name - received from):
- F - Louis Leblanc - Chicoutimi
- F - Philippe Lefebvre - Drummondville
- F - Denis Kindl - Gatineau
- D - Charles-Olivier Roussel - Shawinigan
- D - Francis Meilleur - Cape Breton
- D - Charles Landry - Drummondville
Not one of these players are considered insignificant. If all report to training camp Montreal will have a scary strong team, possibly the team to beat heading into the start of next season.
In order to give you a picture of the team's depth next season, consider this; Montreal will have a strong group of 20 year old players to lead the team. Choinard and Meilleur are locks. Then they'll choose to keep either Jeremy Gouchie or Chris Thorne as their 3rd over ager.
Keep looking down the roster; should both Louis-Marc Aubry and Trevor Parkes be drafted this June, Montreal could have as many as seven NHL owned players in their lineup:
- G - Jean Francois Berube - drafted by the LA Kings in 2009
- D - Charles-Olivier Roussel - drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2009
- F - Louis Leblanc - drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2009
- F - Alexander Avtsin - drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2009
- F - Philippe Lefebvre - signed by the Montreal Canadiens in 2009
- F - Louis-Marc Aubry - ranked 87 NA for 2010 NHL entry draft
- F - Trevor Parkes - ranked 197 NA for 2010 NHL entry draft
While Berube, Roussel, Lefebvre, Aubry and Parkes are sure bets to play next season, there's no guarantee that Leblanc and Avtsin will. As the summer continues I'll keep my eyes open for news on these two players.
As it stands today, here is the best case scenario Montreal Juniors roster for the 2010-2011 season:
Forwards (LW / C / RW):
1st line: LEFEBVRE (19) / LEBLANC (19) / AVTSIN (19)
2nd line: SHERBATOV (19) / AUBRY (19) / PARKES (19)
3rd line: GOUCHIE (20) / KINDL (18) / CHOUINARD (20)
4th line: ROUX (18) / FONTAINE (19) / ROSE (19)
Extra forwards: 2nd-EURO / LAPOSTOLLE
1st unit: ROUSSEL (19) & MEILLEUR (20)
2nd unit: LANDRY (19) & OUELLET (17)
3rd unit: NARBONNE (18) & PROVOST (18)
7th defenseman: BELANGER (18)
Starter: BERUBE (19)
Back-up: MARCOUX (17)
The Juniors traded Guillaume Asselin and their 1st round draft pick in 2011 in exchange for the rights to Louis Leblanc (seen in photo) and Chicoutimi's 3rd round draft pick in 2011.
Leblanc was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens during the 1st round of the 2009 NHL entry draft and remains one of the Habs' top prospects. Naturally a centerman, Leblanc can also play the right wing position very effectively.
Last season Leblanc played for Harvard University in the NCAA and was named as the division's rookie of the year. He led Harvard in points with 11 goals, 12 assists and 23 points in 31 games played.
The Montreal Juniors are hoping Leblanc decides to switch paths next season and chooses to develop his game at the Junior level where he would have the opportunity to play more games.
Leblanc was one of the final cuts for Canada's Junior National team however is considered a strong candidate for the 2011 team.
With this acquisition Montreal fills one of two European roster spots. Kindl will likely center the 3rd line for Montreal and should provide some offensive depth. Last year Kindl scored 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points in 65 games played. In the post season his production increased as he scored 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points in 10 games played.
When it came time for the Montreal Juniors to make their first round pick at the QMJHL entry draft I was surprised to hear commissioner Gilles Courteau say, "we have a trade to announce".
The trade: Montreal sent Loic Poudrier (F), Dillon Donnelly (D), their 1st round pick in 2010 and their 4th round pick in 2011 to the Shawinigan Cataractes in exchange for all-star defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel (seen in photo).
Roussel, a 2009 2nd round draft pick of the Nashville Preditors, is considered one of the strongest defensemen in the Q and will have a chance to represent Canada in the January 2011 WJHC.
Since breaking into the QMJHL Roussel has enjoyed 3 productive years:
Season : GP / G / A / PTS
2007-2008: 50 / 3 / 13 / 16
2008-2009: 68 / 11 / 33 / 44
2009-2010: 64 / 15 / 36 / 51
Roussel will provide Montreal with a huge offensive boost from the blue line, something they have yet to experience since being relocated to Montreal.
Friday, June 4, 2010
With Lefebvre the Junoirs add a player who is capable of scoring 25-30 goals and 55-70 points. Last year he scored 26 goals and added 29 assists for a total of 55 points in 66 games played. Lefebvre finished the year with a plus/minus rating of +21 and also earned 38 penalty minutes. Lefebvre was invited to the Montreal Canadiens rookie camp during in the summer of 2009.
Landry, known more for his defensive game, finished the season with 6 goals, 24 assists in 68 games played. Landry registered a plus/minus rating of +40 along with 41 penalty minutes.
In other trade news....the Juniors made another (minor) deal which sent their 3rd round draft pick in 2011 to Lewiston in exchange for Lewiston's 4th round (63rd overall) draft pick in 2010.
More to come as the deals continue to unfold.....
Meilleur is an average sized player listed at 5'11" and 180lbs and has played 3 seasons in Cape Breton. Last year Meilleur scored 6 goals and 36 assists in 68 games played. He also earned good marks on defense as he boasted a plus/minus rating of +26.
Click here to see Meilleur's player page: http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/lang_en/index.php?page=2147483647&id_register=9925
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will begin a two day trade period which started this morning at 8am and ends tomorrow after the QMJHL entry draft.
Look out for some big names to be moved as many rumours have been swirling around the league.
With respect to the Montreal Juniors, many expect the team to aggressively pursue trade options in order to meet their objective of becoming a top contending team next season. Their defense corps seems like an obvious area that requires an upgrade so you should expect to see GM Pascal Vincent atempt to address that part of the team's makeup.
I'll do my best to provide updates on the Juniors as the action unfolds.