Prolific scorer Peter Trainor helms a strong attack in Rimouski (The Canadian Press)
With the QMJHL season starting Thursday, we will look at each division in the Q and make 14 fun facts and fearless forecasts for the upcoming 2013-14 season. This is the East Division. The West Division was posted Tuesday and the Maritime Division will be available Thursday.
The East was the division of death last season, with all teams competing hard against each other and beating up on the lowly Shawinigan Cataractes. This year the Rimouski Oceanic kept just about all of their core together, while the Baie-Comeau Drakkar lost a bit and the Quebec Remparts don’t compare in talent to the Oceanic, who should have a big year. The Chicoutimi Saguenéens should be a factor, and the Victoriaville Tigres will also play well this season.
1. Chicoutimi will benefit this season from Nicolas Roy — The Saguenéens pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, acquiring first overall pick Nicolas Roy from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles for their first round picks in 2014, '15 and '16. The deal will work out in Chicoutimi’s favour as long as they can stay strong for those years, and Roy could make that happen. Roy adds to a strong forward group led by captain Charles Hudon, centres Laurent Dauphin and Sébastien Sylvestre, and newcomer Vincent Provencher. Roy can play sheltered minutes while he learns from those players, and chips in on 5-on-5 and on the powe rplay, where he could be a force with his big frame and excellent playmaking abilities.
2. Rimouski will not benefit this season from Stefan Matteau Jr. — Rimouski bought low on Matteau, hoping his headaches last season would be worth another 50-75 point scorer to their depth chart. However, Matteau isn’t even listed on the Océanic roster and will likely spend this season with either the New Jersey Devils or the Albany Devils, after spending his 2012-13 season with the Devils bookended by stints in the QMJHL. Matteau was acquired for a second and a third round pick, which now look wasted in retrospect, since Rimouski is now banking on the Devils choosing to send him back instead of keeping him in their own developmental systems.
3. The Remparts will be far less controversial behind the bench — The big man, Patrick Roy, has left for greener pastures, leaving the Remparts to hire a new bench boss to fill the NHL legend’s shoes. The Remparts took former Océanic GM Philippe Boucher to be their new coach and GM. Boucher will be joined by Martin Laperrière, Patrick’s associate coach in Quebec who decided to honour his contract with the Remparts. The team has most of its core back for this season, including Anthony Duclair, Adam Erne, Brent Turnbull, Kurt Etchegary, Brandon Shea and Nick Sorensen, as well as defenceman Ryan Culkin and goaltenders François Brassard and newcomer Callum Booth. They probably won’t miss a beat.Read More »from QMJHL preview: Rimouski should run away with the East in 2013-14