Targeted players still available for the Phoenix
The Phoenix head recruiter, Alain Préfontaine, and general manager Jocelyn Thibault said they were happy to still be able to select in the second round players who were high enough in their list who were ignored in the first round.
Share June 5, 2020 10:44 p.m. Updated at 11:42 p.m. Share Targeted players still available for the Phoenix
Jérôme Gaudreau La Tribune SHERBROOKE – The first round of the 2020 QMJHL draft may not have been presented at the Palais des sports as planned before the pandemic, but it was still quite a spectacle thanks to a few twists and turns. While the Phoenix was instead in the spectator seat Friday night with no first-round pick, the Gatineau Olympiques and the Val-d'Or Foreurs took the opportunity to steal the show.
The draft stunt went to the Foreurs, who got their hands on Jakob Pelletier of the Moncton Wildcats. In addition to offering a 4th round pick in 2022, the Wildcats received in exchange the 8th overall pick of 2020, a 1st round pick in 2021, a 2nd round pick in 2021, a 5th round pick in 2020 and hope Mathis Cloutier.
The 8th selection of the 2020 auction did not stay long in the bank of the Wildcats, who immediately traded it to the Gatineau Olympiques for three important choices.
The Olympiques thus equaled a record belonging to the Rimouski Oceanic by speaking four times in the first eight selections (1-2-4-8).
Meanwhile, the Phoenix was never able to compromise to secure a first-round pick in 2020.
“The price to pay was very high. We saw it in the first round when a few teams had to pay a lot to climb the standings. Will it be interesting to try to select faster in the second round? Perhaps! »Says General Manager Jocelyn Thibault.
The good news for the Phœnix: several players targeted by the Sherbrooke organization remain available.
“There are still excellent players, some of whom are on our list, and that's what makes us in a good mood tonight,” admits the Sherbrooke GM. Things are going well for us. The future will confirm that there are young people who will be selected in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds who should have been chosen in the 1st round. This is the kind of draft we are entitled to this year. “
Seated on one of the rinks at Complexe Thibault GM, Jocelyn Thibault was surrounded by his assistant, recruiters, coaches and the rest of the staff to watch the action live on a big screen for just under three hours by through the YouTube account of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“We will certainly remember the exchange of Jakob Pelletier and the four Olympic picks in the first eight selections of 2020. Gatineau stole the show,” says Thibault.
Depth in all positions
The Phoenix's Saturday game plan for Rounds 2-14 is quite simple: improve in all positions hoping to find a player who can help the squad starting next season. As much on offense as on defense or in front of goals.
“We will have to wait another 16 selections in the second round before speaking for the first time. We will look at the possibility of moving forward or even going back. It would be nice to also be able to compromise to get a little more experience, but we don't necessarily have the ammunition in our draft bank to find impact players. And then we will also have the training camp trading period to make trades. We will finally be able to transact at the Holidays, so there is no rush for the moment, ”clarifies Jocelyn Thibault.
This is how the Phoenix hopes to have a much different roster than its opponents.
“There were a few surprises in the first round. Players that I really like were drafted late, others I liked less were drafted quickly. We hope that this will still be the case on Saturday during the following rounds. That's the beauty of it during a draft: no one has the same list! “
The Phoenix will select once in the 2nd round (37th pick), twice in the 3rd round (56th and 58th) and also has for the moment picks in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th (twice) , 13th and 14th rounds. The draft will resume at 9 a.m. and fans can follow it all on the QMJHL website or on social media.
Players like Justin Côté, ranked 6th by the Central Recruitment Support Center, will still be available, as will Cantonniers de Magog goaltender Rémi Delafontaine (29th) and Stanstead College defender Ryan Hopkins (23rd).