Jordan Caron was the first forward drafted out of Quebec Major Junior last season, 25th overall by the Boston Bruins. This year’s top QMJHL forward, Kirill Kabanov, will almost certainly go earlier than that, but even so the depth and quality of the forwards coming out of Quebec isn’t quite the same as it is in the WHL or OHL.
The following list is a comparison of the draft-eligible forwards ranked in either the preliminary or midterm CSS rankings, or both. The third column is a formula ranking based on age and scoring totals.
Kirill Kabanov has seen his draft ranking plummet over the last while as a result of injury, but he expects to be back shortly (he discussed it on the Pipeline Show last week). More remarkably, he explained that he’d been playing with a broken wrist when he put up 14 points in 11 QMJHL games, a wrist he’d broken months before in the KHL. Kabanov might be a player who slips to the middle of the first round, but based on his injury and play prior to it, he could outperform some of the guys taken above him.
The only other prospect I really want to key in on is Brandon Hynes, listed at 5’9” and 176lbs on the QMJHL’s official website. Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray talked to The Western Star about Hynes when he was invited to Canada’s under-18 camp, and I’ve grabbed the quotes I thought were especially interesting:
“I think he needs to round out his game going forward for both pro and for a team like our World junior team, but when it comes to Under-18 he’s a worthy candidate and we’ll get him into camp and see how he does.”
“But he’s got some good offensive skills and he’s going have to round out his game to add a little more defensive responsibility and maybe move the puck a little more, but he does have something a lot of players don’t have and that’s an ability to score.”
“You can get players in better position and show them how to get the little quicker release and all those things, but that natural touch around the net, it’s tough to find guys who have it.”
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d much rather see an NHL team spend a late round pick on a high-risk/high-reward type of prospect rather than a prospective grinder.