Prospects News & Rumors: QMJHL, Barron & McIsaac

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) is having major problems as the region is having an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Also, one of the league’s top teams will have their captain on the ice for the first time this season. Finally, a Detroit Red Wings’ prospect returns home from Europe after another injury.

Voltigeurs Suspend Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to throw a monkey wrench into the QMJHL’s hopes of playing a full season. Both the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Sherbrooke Phoenix deal with an outbreak earlier in the month. This led to the league postponing play in their East and West Divisions last week.

Now, the Drummondville Voltigeurs have suspended all team activities after their first positive COVID-19 test.

According to an official statement by the QMJHL, all players and staff will be isolated and tested. The league has reached out to head officials who are looking into all contact between the players and hockey staff. Their findings will be shared with the team and the league.

Barron Ready to Return

The Halifax Mooseheads had some good news to share on Thursday. They officially announced that captain Justin Barron will return to the team for this weekend’s set of games at the Cape Breton Eagles.

The young defenseman missed the first six games of the season after have a medical procedure to help prevent blood clots. This came after he missed the majority of the 2019-20 season due to a blood clot in his arm.

Justin Barron Halifax Mooseheads
Barron returns to the ice this weekend. (Photo: Halifax Mooseheads)

“He’s obviously a big part of our team and we are excited to have him back,” Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell said. “It’s a big boost for our defense to have him out there. We’re extremely happy for him to be back at full health and ready to play.”

Despite the injury, Barron was drafted in the first round (25th overall) by the Colorado Avalanche at the NHL Entry Draft earlier this month. If he can stay healthy, he has the skill set of the modern NHL defenseman.

Barron has got good size at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds. He plays a sound and responsible game in his own zone and is a reliable defender. He is a strong skater who makes a good first pass to lead the transition into the offensive zone. He is very mobile for a player of his size and has a pretty shot from the point. Barron’s well-rounded game will translate well at the professional level.

McIsaac Returns Home

Defenseman Jared McIsaac’s loan to HPK in Finland’s Liiga, by the Red Wings, did not last very long. In fact, it lasted for just one 34-second shift. He suffered a reported broken hand on his first shift with the team. HPK announced on Thursday that he is returning to Detroit to receive further treatment for his injury.

McIsaac, a former teammate of Barron’s in Halifax, was drafted by the Red Wings in the second round (36th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He is the nephew of National Hockey League referee Jon McIsaac.

In his draft season of 2017-18, McIsaac had nine goals and 47 points for the Mooseheads. He put up career-highs with 16 goals and 42 points in 53 games during the 2018-19 season. He added another two goals and 16 points in 22 playoff games.

Jared McIsaac
McIsaac has had a tough go of it lately. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

However, injuries are nothing new for the young defenseman. Ever since the 2019 playoffs, McIsaac has played in just 36 total games, including his brief appearance with HPK. He played in 28 total QMJHL games with the Mooseheads and Moncton Wildcats. He also had a goal and four points for Canada at the World Junior Championship.

As the situation within the QMJHL remains fluid, by sure to check our daily Prospects News & Rumors column for all the latest information as it becomes available.