With the 44th season in the history of the QMJHL ready to begin tomorrow night, it’s time to look at the best teams and the best players to watch in 2012-13. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan will visit the Saint-John Sea Dogs, the President’s Cup Champions for a second consecutive year. With the lockout in the NHL, hockey fans will have to look elsewhere to see hockey and the CHL, and especially the QMJHL in the eastern part of Canada, will be a great option to satisfy their hockey craving.
As opposed to the other teams in their division, the Remparts’ defensive unit is solid. Despite the departures of Vincent Barnard and Mikaël Tam, Martin Lefebvre, the team captain, is still there and he will be well supported by Marc-Antoine Carrier and Ryan Culkin.
The only question mark is in goal. With Louis Domingue gone, the second year goalie, François Brassard, will shoulder the workload, despite a lack of exprience.
Memorial Cup winner, Eric Veilleux, will be the Drakkar’s new head coach. He hopes to bring more consistency to the players’ game. The defensive squad will be led by Julien Lepage, while 17 year-old Philippe Cadorette, in his first full season, will have to lead the team to victory every night.
6- Acadie-Bathurst Titan
With the loss of quarterback Jerome-Gauthier-Leduc, Rimouski is having a less-than-stellar group of defensemen, with a lot of rookies on the blue line. In goal, the 19 year-old netminder Carl Hozjan will have to prove he can handle the pressure and play consistent hockey.
On the blue line, the group of players will be less-than-impressive after Jeremy Blain decided to turn pro. In goal, the rather inconsistent David Honzik has left for Cape-Breton, and the young and talented goalie Brandon Whitney will carry the load.
10- Val-d’Or Foreurs
11- Chicoutimi Saguenéens
The lack of depth is quite obvious after the above players and with the 20-year old Christopher Gibson returning in net, the team will have to trade one of its two other overagers. As a result, the team traded rearguard Andrew O’Brien to the Val-D’Or Foreurs yesterday. Mathieu Gagnon is a excellent defenseman, but after him, the group is very thin.
13- Drummondville Voltigeurs
The Voltigeurs should expect similar results as last year as this team is not extremely talented other than Marc-Olivier Brouillard and Olivier Archambault. The latter has yet to blossom in the player many pundits expected when he was drafted first overall at the QMJHL draft. The former Remparts Jeremy Malouin and the veteran defenseman Gabriel Vermette will certainly Mario Duhamel’s team.
The problem is that this team is lacking offensive depth and will struggle to score goals. Also, will goalie Domenic Graham be able to rebound after a tough first-round series against Quebec last Spring?