The game is over at the Phoenix
Stéphane Julien formalized his roster for the 2020-2021 season this weekend.
Share September 7, 2020 9:44 p.m. Updated at 10:17 p.m. Share It's up to the Phœnix
Jérôme Gaudreau La Tribune SHERBROOKE – After three victories in as many preparatory games, the Sherbrooke Phœnix felt ready to form their final roster, which led to the withdrawal of nine players and a trade on Sunday.
The makeup of the Phoenix roster for the 2020-2021 season comes down to 13 forwards, eight defenders and two goalies for a total of 23 players.
If we believed that only two rookies drafted during the last auction had found a way to carve out a position, goalkeeper Jasmin Simon drafted in the 3rd round and forward Jean-Raphaël Roy, 12th round pick, the coach and general manager Stéphane Julien quickly confirmed the presence of a third player selected in 2020.
Absent from training camp, Christophe Rondeau had done enough last season in college to sufficiently impress the Phoenix staff.
The 17-year-old left-handed defender will indeed be part of the next edition of the Phoenix without having played a single practice or a single game during the camp.
“He suffered a concussion during the Cégep André-Laurendeau team camp and we would have liked to be able to evaluate him at our camp, but seeing him play last year with the Chêne-Bleu high school, we already knew that he was going to make the club this year ”, indicates the general manager and trainer of the Phoenix.
Defenders Vincent Trudel and Maxime Blanchard will also start the season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix, as will rookies Colin Ratt, Jaheem Lagacé-Aurélien and Karl Vaillancourt on offense.
“Jean-Raphaël Roy really impressed during the camp, estimates Stéphane Julien. He leaves from afar. He comes from the hopeful midget, but he is physically strong for his age and caused the surprise. Jaheem and Karl were also very good. Karl also finished second among the best scorers in the camp. It was hard to let him go. “
Lessard will have to wait
The Phoenix's 2020 2nd round pick, defenseman Zachary Lessard, will have to add experience to his background by playing in the midget AAA this season to start.
“We would not have done him a service by keeping him with us at 16,” sums up Stéphane Julien.
Julien Breton (D), Jordan Lambert (L), Thomas Bégin (A), William Lepage (A), Tristan Gourdeau (A), Maxime Pelletier (D), Ludovic Harrisson (A) and David Provencher (L) were also entrenched.
The latter, however, will remain with the team until the arrival of European goalkeeper Samuel Hlavaj, expected this week in Sherbrooke along with American Gregory Kreutzer and Russian Pavel Grishin.
Note that the Phoenix had to proceed with a transaction to retain the rights of Karl Vaillancourt by concluding an agreement reached on August 23, 2019 with the Cape Breton Eagles on Sunday.
The Phoenix presented the Eagles with a 2021 6th round pick in return for a 2021 8th round pick.
No fourth 20-year-old
Among the 23 players selected, we must add to this number the 20-year-old defender Olivier Crête-Belzile, who is currently fighting cancer.
“I think he has one last treatment left and he wants to come back to Sherbrooke on November 1 and play in December,” says Stéphane Julien.
With Gregory Kretuzer, Xavier Bernard and Benjamin Tardif, the Phœnix has four 20-year-old players while the limit remains at three this year.
“Xavier Barnard was our best player at camp. He came back in great shape, ”says Julien.
The possibility of adding a 4th 20-year-old player was discussed between the general managers of the QMJHL, but the idea was never finally brought to the governors and no vote was necessary.
“I would say about 80% of CEOs were against the idea. We were for it. But I understand their position, ”says the CEO of the Phoenix, who will be holding training sessions every morning this week before the preparatory game on Sunday at the Palais des sports against the Gatineau Olympiques.