Birthday Scouting Trip

This weekend I am headed off to Quebec City to take in a couple of Remparts games and enjoy the beautiful city for my birthday. Friday the Remparts take on the Victoriaville Tigres and Sunday sees the Chicoutimi Saguenéens come to town.

The most intriguing prospect on display will be Maxime Comtois of the Victoriaville Tigres. The Hockey News showed him going at #3 overall in the 2017 mock draft by Ryan Kennedy, in the October 24th issue. Comtois’ rating goes anywhere from there up to 7 depending on what site you peruse. The “dangerous two-way winger has size, skill and smarts”, but is off to a slow start in the scoring department with 13 points in 22 games this year, while he averaged a point per game in both regular season and playoff action last year. In Prospects Unlimited, The Hockey News put him 44th on the ‘Top 100 21 and Under’ list. While highly speculative, that list places him in some excellent company with many current NHL young guns on either side of him. It will be great to see him play in person and gauge his potential.

High on the scoring charts is Nicloas Roy of Chicoutimi, ranking 7th in QMJHL scoring with 30 points in 17 games. He is a 2015 fourth round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes and is coming off a 48 goal, 90 point campaign last season. Ranked 8th on Carolina’s prospect list in Future Watch 2016, Roy was in the midst of a breakout season when that list came out. If his frame and scoring ability translate to the NHL he will have a huge opportunity with the Hurricanes, who need scoring forwards.

Quebec is not full of top prospects at the moment, with the biggest names being Callum Booth and Igor Larionov. The former for his status as the only drafted player on the Remparts and the latter for his famous name shared with his father, the Hockey Hall of Famer.

Another interesting storyline will be my meeting up with Philippe Boucher again. I won’t hold it against him, but the first time we met was at the NHL Draft in Buffalo the year he was the Sabres first round pick. I was seated in the Golds and the glass was not installed for the event, so after he was selected and walked off the floor I sought his autograph, there was one younger kid in front of me and we were the only two there, but young Philippe signed his and then said to me that he had to go. Had to go before the stampede for his autograph started?!? It was 1991, no one cared about the draft that day, not after Lindros spurned Quebec and made his headlines. While I did not get my autograph, Boucher went from the 13th overall pick to a 15+ season NHL career with several teams. So Quebec, Boucher, and me will all meet again this weekend.

Last year, the milestone birthday trip was a delayed sojourn to FInland for the World Junior Championship. This year I will be in Quebec City on my birthday, bookended by QHJHL games. A further highlight will be the brand new arena in Quebec, the Videotron Centre, designed to lure an NHL team. So look for updates on Twitter and blog posts about the games this weekend.

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