2017 NHL Draft

Prospect Notes: Chicoutimi vs Baie-Comeau

Lots of flash and dash from Baie-Comeau’s Ivan Chekhovich
Steve Kournianos  |  2/21/2017 |  New York  |  [hupso]

Photo courtesy of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar

2017 Draft Prospects

Baie-Comeau Drakkar

LW Ivan Chekhovich (1/4/99, 5’10/176): Chekhovich is a dynamic player with an array of puck skills who plays on the Drakkar’s top line and top power play unit. He’s very quick and accelerates to top speed faster than most of his draft peers. Chekhovich is a finesse player through and through, and he’s as dangerous around the net as he is on the rush. He doesn’t possess a blistering shot, but his release is quick and is confident to defer to the backhand. Chekhovich seems partial to the wraparound whiuch comes in handy when he’s consistently kept to the outside. He’ll make subtle plays in traffic to draw opponents away from the weak side, and his shiftiness is sharp enough to create wide open lanes to the net. His battle level is moderate and he likes the puck to come to him rather than win the battle on his own. His game breaking ability, however, is most certainly legitimate.

C/RW D’Artagnan Joly (4/7/99, 6’3/180): Joly has a pro build and an array of skills that make you think he could easily be one of the top draft-eligible teenagers in the QMJHL. An upright skater with a long stride and above-average quickness, Joly uses his reach and stickhandling skills to manuever in and around traffic. He’s capable of creating his own shot and is more creative than your average power forward. Joly can wire a hard, accurate shot off the pass or his back foot, and he’s adept at shooting through defenders in one-on-one situations. The puck always seems to find him, and he considers using all of his teammates as he carries the ouck up the ice with confidence. His hands are incredibly soft and the power play is where they come into play — he receives and controls hard passes rather effortlessly. The lone blemish is his seemingly nonchalant compete level, as Joly has a habit of looking totally disinterested and can be careless with the puck with the occasional loaf on the backcheck. He can play center or wing, but his poor production in the dot and struggles with defensive-zone coverage makes us think he’s better off on the flank.

C Christopher Benoit (5/31/99, 5’9/170): Benoit is a scrappy, defensive-minded center who kills penalties and does fairly well on faceoffs. A strong skater with good balance and above-average speed, Benoit is an asset when down a man because he understands when and when not to commit himself to a puck battle. Rarely is he given opportunities to showcase what he can do on offense, but he is a low maintenance player with a good, accurate shot who makes his money grinding it out along the boards or out-muscling opponents on his way to the net. A team-first player who does whatever is asked of him.

RW Kevin Lamontagne (7/9/99, 5’8/169): A hard-nosed speedster with quick hands who approaches every shift as if it were his last, Lamontagne is a gritty role player with strong puck skills who is versatile enough to play on any line. His quickness and sound instincts creates turnovers in any zone, and he’s strong enough on his feet to power through opponents who try to seal off his avenue of approach. Lamontagne plays with his head up and surveys the ice no matter how fast he’s moving, and his non-stop motor makes him ideal on the penalty kill. He can play physical, finishes his checks and is rather fearless considering his diminutive build, and he does so in a clean manner. Lamontagne was an 11th round pick in the 2015 QMJHL Draft, so he’s got a lot to prove.

LHD Jan Aucoin (8/1/99, 6’2/205): Aucoin is a mobile two-way defenseman with size, a booming shot and an evolving physical aspect to his game. His thick frame, hunched-over skating style and long stick is reminiscent of 2015 first rounder Ivan Provorov, but the comparisons end there, as Aucoin is a long way’s from truly grasping the intricacies of being a reliable three-zone defender and beating back pressure with consistency. Aucoin is aggressive and likes to take risks, especially with the puck heading the other way. His footwork and quickness is solid considering how big he is, and he is capable of playing on the power play or penalty kill. His one-on-one play is hit or miss — one shift he’ll be a matador, the next a smothering wall of muscle. Aucoin’s skill set is tantalizing and the right environment could untap his top-four potential, but we’d like to see him simplify his defensive game and manage the puck better.

LHD Matteo Pietroniro (10/20/98, 6’0/178): Pietroniro is a slick offensive-minded defenseman with superior puck skills who uses quickness and sound vision to eat away at opposing schemes. He quarterbacks the top power play unit with confidence, as all plays usually run through him before completion. Pietroniro is incredibly accurate with his passes and can split the zones with tape-to-tape stretch passes from as far back as his own goal line. He can either initiate a rush with puck carrying or join one to create an advantage — both revealing a smart, instinctive player who understands how critical a role he plays. Pietroniro has good chemistry with his partners and makes timely and decisive pinches. Rarely will you see him drop down below the circles without ensuring the void will be covered, and when he does, he’ll put his head down and bolt back to thwart an opposing counterattack. He has a decent shot from the point, but it’s accurate and fired without hesitation. Pietroniro is reliable in one-on-one coverage and slot positioning but can be moved off the puck by bigger forwards, especially on the penalty kill or in close-quarter battles. That doesn’t mean he can’t play physical — Pietroniro likes to mix it up and stands up to any challenge.

LW Antoine Girard (9/22/98, 5’10/178): Physical two-way winger with a developing offensive game that showcases speed and relentless forechecking. Girard makes plays out of nothing, and having the kind of balance he possesses allows him to hang on to the puck longer than you’d expect from a depth player. He has no problem digging in and getting his hands dirty, specifically in front of the net and in the corners. Girard is quite accurate with his shot and manages to slip undetected into clear shooting lanes, and this kind of versatilty makes him an option on both the power play and the penalty kill.

Chicoutimi Saguenéens

LHD Keenan MacIsaac (4/1/99, 5’11/182): MacIsaac, the 19th overall pick in the 2015 QMJHL Draft, is a key cog in Chicoutimi’s offense. He’s a slick skater and hard, accurate passer with decent instincts when it comes to play development, especially when manning the point on one of the Saugueneens’ power play units. MacIsaac will join the rush and use his quick feet to fill in a vacant spot , usually inside the left circle, and his above-average shot is kept low, hard and accurate. His defensive zone play is sound, and he tries to make up for marginal physical play with a quick stick and good positioning.