Surprises So Far

(Last Night I was a guest on The Pipeline Show to preview the QMJHL Season.  Here’s the interview.

Well we’re through two weekends in the QMJHL season and there have been some surprises so far.  Even though many of the teams are still missing players but did anyone expect the Moncton Wildcats, the Drummondville Voltigeurs or the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to be undefeated?  Another surprise is Samson Mahbod of Drummondville having ten points already when his career high is 23 points.

I expect the Moncton Wildcats to be good and be a team that will be on the verge of making the playoffs in March.   They had no problem defeating the Prince Edward Island Rocket 8-2 in their opening game and defeating Val d’Or 7-2.  They already have 21 goals in four games and last year they only scored 191 goals last year.  Ted Stephens and Scott Brannon both have eight points to lead the team.  It should be interesting how this team does when they come to town on Friday.

The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles could be a team to watch out.  They are off to that scorching start by winning their first five games.  I am not surprised they haven’t lost but how long will this last?  You look at their roster, no one really stands out.  Will they be buyers come the winter trade period?  They have three standout twenty-year-olds but after that it’s up in the air.  This team will need to jump on the back of Olivier Roy who has played fabulous in net.  He’s 4-0, with a 2.51 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

The real surprise has been the Drummondville Voltigeurs.  This team has acquired some talent through trades and the Import Draft.  Samson Mahbod has been on a few teams in this league.  He already has ten points including six goals.  His career high is 23 points last season with the Voltigeurs.  How about rookie defenseman Dmitry Kulikov who has stepped right in and has two goals and five assists.  Dany Masse and Yannick Riendeau are also off to a hot start.  The only question is will the goaltending hold up.  Antoine Tardif’s goals against average is pretty good but his save percentage is very low at .873.  If the offense has a night off, can they rely on their goaltending?

Another team that wasn’t suppose to contend this season is the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.  They have recorded a point in every game so far.  Their record is 3-0-1-0.  The leaders have been their twenty-year-olds Tomy Joly and Spencer Jezegou who each have five points.  The offense hasn’t been lighting it up but Nicolas Champion has been lights out in goal.  He has the Titan three wins, allowing only 1.74 goals per game and stopping .937 save percentage.

It’s only been two weeks but the season has already seen surprises.  Two weeks from now, Quebec, Rimouski, Saint John, and Shawinigan will off and running when their top players from NHL training camps.   Columbus Day will be a good indicator where these teams really stand.

That’s My Take

(Nathan also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog” and is a contributor to the Maine Hockey Journal His email is fourniern@students.nescom.edu.)

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