Habs QMJHL Prospect Report: December 2014

Photo: Richard Wolowicz, HHOF-IIHF Images

Photo: Richard Wolowicz, HHOF-IIHF Images

This is the fifth of a series of monthly reports concerning Habs prospects playing in the QMJHL: Daniel Audette, Jérémy Grégoire and Zachary Fucale.

Daniel Audette, Sherbrooke Phoenix

December was an under-average month for the Phoenix forward. In 8 games, Audette scored a goal and added 4 assists. He also finished the month with a minus-2 differential. In addition, Audette was suspended two games for grabbing Simon Bourque’s hair in a fight that occurred on December 10th against the league-leading Rimouski Océanic.

However, Phoenix GM Patrick Charbonneau isn’t worried with the recent performances of his star player.

“I’m not worried, because there are different reasons why Daniel has gone through ups and downs. First of all, he now has to deal with the pressure of being a drafted NHL prospect. It requires a certain adjustment for a young player like him to go through this. However, when you compare his stats month by month this year and last year, he’s had a comparable pace. He also had to deal with different wingers very often for different reasons, like injuries”, said Charbonneau in his midseason recap.

He however did a lot better in the last weeks, mostly due to being placed with his longtime partner David Storto, and Lightning prospect Cameron Darcy. It will be interesting to see if this line can keep up their good work for the rest of the season.

Jérémy Grégoire, Baie-Comeau Drakkar

Grégoire made his season debut on December 28th after a wrist injury suffered at Habs rookie camp, and that required surgery. He was kept off the scoring sheet in his first two games but got two assists in a Chicoutimi win on New Year’s eve. He also had 15 shots on goal and a plus-2 rating in these three games.

Even if the injury lasted nearly two months, Grégoire tried to do all he could in order to come back earlier and maybe clinch a spot in Team Canada’s roster.

“The medical staff and I tried to speed up the process so I could come back earlier than planned so I could play at the World Juniors. I trained hard and kept gameshape in order to be ready when the time would come. However, when I learned I wasn’t invited, we decided to take all the time needed to heal completely”, explains Grégoire.

The 2013 6th-rounder also recognized there was a certain adaptation when time came to join his teammates.

“I knew it would take some time to find back the rhythm. I think I’ll be back to 100% after maybe six to eight games, because it’s like I’m starting the training camp while I’m playing with guys who are in midseason form. So far I’ve been getting some scoring chances, which is great after missing so much action”, said the Sherbrooke, Que. native.

Zachary Fucale, Halifax Mooseheads – Quebec Remparts

Fucale only played 2 games in the QMJHL before heading to the World Junior Hockey Championships, where he ultimately won the tournament with Team Canada. During the tournament, he posted a 5-0-0-0 record along with a 1.20 GAA and a .939 save efficiency.

Fucale had a 1-1 record, including a shutout against the Charlottetown Islanders, and posted a .941 save percentage along with a 1.53 GAA in those two QMJHL games.

The highlight of the month for Zach happened on December 19th. While he was with Team Canada, the Mooseheads traded him, Matt Murphy and a 2015 5th round pick to the Quebec Remparts. In return, Halifax obtained goalie Eric Brassard, a 1st and a 3rd round pick in 2016, and a 1st and 2nd round pick in 2018.

Since the Remparts are the 2015 Memorial Cup hosts and are therefore assured to take part in the tournament, Zach will likely have the chance to win the CHL title for a second time in his career, after winning it in 2013 with the Herd.

Fucale will have a last chance to salute the fans that supported him for the last three years on January 10th as he’ll be honored by the Mooseheads for his loyal services and the multiple franchise records he holds. He’ll arrive in Quebec on January 12th and will play his first game with his new team on January 14th against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Follow me on twitter @CarignanTQN to get the latest news on Habs prospects playing in the ‘Q’, particularly Daniel Audette who plays for the team I cover for another media.

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