Habs QMJHL Prospect Report: Mid-Season (Trade Deadline)

This is the second QMJHL prospect report of this 2015-2016 regular season concerning Habs prospects playing in the QMJHL: Daniel Audette and Simon Bourque.

Daniel Audette, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix (R5 2014, #147)

I feel like I am repeating myself, but Audette is part of a small group of players reaching the expectations so far this season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Audette has had a great offensive production so far with 41 points in 26 games, including 13 goals. Three of them have come with the man-advantage, and two of them when on the penalty kill. The second of the two goals in this video, scored in the brand new Centre Vidéotron, was certainly one of his greatest plays in this first half of the season:

If any doubt on Audette’s team spirit and attitude were flying around after he was cut before the main camp a few months ago, it seems like none of it is true. A teammate anonymously said, “He is an even better teammate than last year and is fully involved in making things better [for an underachieving team]. The fact he has an ELC in his back pocket hasn’t gotten to his head, and he really wants to make a difference both on and off the ice”.

He plays better on the PK this season and we see him block shots and sacrifice his body more often than ever, proving his desire to improve his overall game. “If I want to get to the next level, I can’t just rely on points. I need to assume my responsibilities and perform on all 200 feet, not just in the offensive zone”, says Audette.

The Birds have had a terrible start of the season and haven’t been able to catch up yet. After a 10-game point streak that could have set the team back on their expected rhythm, everything fell back flat, losing 7-out-of-8. GM Patrick Charbonneau and head coach Judes Vallée eventually lost their job, and the two new men in their place (GM Jocelyn Thibault and head coach Stéphane Julien) pointed out Audette as their best player and leading man in their mission to come back strong in the second half of this roller coaster season.

Dan once again plays with winger Julien Pelletier, but often has to adapt to another linemate as the Phoenix had to deal with multiple injuries and roster moves. He also was injured for a little more than a month, but since coming back, he has picked up points in 10-out-of-11 games (5G+11A, 16 Pts).

With 28 games left, Audette will try to help the Phoenix move up in the standings. Sherbrooke currently is 13th in the QMJHL with a 15-19-4-2 record, good for 36 points. The objective will be to at least climb up to the first half of the league, after being a “passive buyer” at the trade deadline.

Simon Bourque, D, Rimouski Océanic (R6 2015, #177)

Bourque excels for a very surprising Océanic. Very few predicted that the Nics would be 7th in the QMJHL at the trade deadline, but the 23-12-3-1 record is enough to give them 50 points before highly rated teams like the Sea Dogs (49 pts) and Screaming Eagles (44 pts).

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis, Getty Images

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis, Getty Images

The 6-foot-1 blueliner has gotten his fair share of ice time and points so far this season. Bourque shows a record of 6 goals and 28 points in 30 games in Rimouski. His -6 differential can be explained by the fact he faces the best forwards on opposing teams every night, and plays in a division where teams are mostly even.

Bourque lost a lot of support since the beginning of the season due to trades, which can be surprising when we look at the standings. Ex-captain Michaël Joly was dealt to the Screaming Eagles in November, and the “C” was given to Rimouski-native Anthony Chapados. A few weeks later, his pairing partner Guillaume McSween was sent to Gatineau, leaving Simon with even more responsibilities. Finally, yesterday, ex-new-captain Chapados was dealt to Sherbrooke in return for second string goalie Alexandre Lagacé.

In the wave of trades made in order to rebuild, a lot of teams had interest in the 18-year-old player. GM Serge Beausoleil spoke to collegue Alexandre D’Astous and said, “We got a lot of offers for Simon, who was the most requested defenseman. However, we didn’t get an offer worth his value. There was no way we would ship him away if we didn’t get the right price for him”.

Colleague Michel Germain, PBP for the Océanic, predicted in october that Bourque would be a great candidate for being named the Nics captain after the trade deadline, and turns out he got that right. A few hours after Chapados left, Simon was offered to add the prestigious letter on his jersey.

Follow me on Twitter @CarignanTQN to get the latest news on Habs prospects playing in the QMJHL.

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