With the 27th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators have selected Zachary L’Heureux from the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
About Zachary L’Heureux
The physical center from Montreal is known for his hitting abilities and getting under the opponent’s skin. Without giving up possession, he’ll make the correct play and is known to be a fighter. He also processes the game at a high level, displaying his speed when making plays in transition. He can win puck races and uses his strong edgework in all three zones. As his undisciplined play has led to multiple suspensions, he will likely fall in this draft, but he projects to be a good player at the NHL level.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Brad Marchand and Nazem Kadri are two players that automatically come to mind when you think of Halifax Mooseheads power forward, Zachary L’Heureux. He’s the epitome of a player that you would love to have on your team, but would absolutely hate to play against. After a strong rookie campaign with the Moncton Wildcats, L’Heureux made an immediate impact for the Mooseheads when the season started.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
“L’Heureux has the strength, speed and offensive awareness to stand out and dominate every shift when he’s on he ice. He’s always in attack mode, engaging in any situation he sees in order to gain possession of the puck. He’s a great skater as he’s able to gain the momentum he needs in order to win puck races. He has strong edges for quick wrap around attempts and to evade tight situations. When the puck is on his stick, he has great body positioning in order to protect it.
“He is a major offensive force. According to Pick 224, 33 of L’Heureux’s 39 points were primary points and 23 of them were at even-strength points – a 0.697 per game rate, ranking 10th overall among draft year players. His 15 even-strength goals ranks him at eighth overall. As a result of his goal production, he has a great shot with a quick release as well as the ability to attack the net for loose pucks. He always seems to be in the right spot for the quick tap ins as he’s able to go undetected from defenders.
“His offensive game stands out, but L’Heureux is a very reliable defender as he’s capable of providing great coverage at even strength on the back check and on the penalty kill. He provides great pressure on the puck carrier and always likes to get the inside edge by tying up the opposition with a quick stick lift.
“While he stands at 5-foot-11, he isn’t afraid to play a physical game and throw his body around. He’s really effective at making hits in order to create turnovers and regain possession. He’s always looking to play the body in order to throw the opposition off.
“While that is a strength for L’Heureux, it’s also a reason why it warrants some red flags as he been undisciplined this season, which resulted in multiple suspensions during his draft year. While that might put some teams off, his energy and offensive impact still makes him a highly touted prospect.”
How This Affects the Predators’ Plans
The Predators added a pest-type left winger into the organization, trading up for the 27th pick with the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for picks 40 and 51. He is also defensively responsible and can play with speed and skill to set up scoring chances.
The Predators needed to add forward depth into their pipeline to add scoring threats into their lineup. As the team heads towards a rebuild, selecting L’Heureux will be integral in establishing their identity. They are a more challenging team to play against with him in the lineup.
Jordan Jacklin is a freelance writer who covers the Buffalo Sabres here at The Hockey Writers. Jordan is a student at Ryerson’s Sport Media program and uses analytics and video scouting to evaluate your favourite players in the game.