For some reason that is difficult to explain, Quebec has never been a great breeding ground for defenders. And this, although quality backs from the Belle Province have set foot on the NHL rinks.
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This is still the case today. Last season, only 11 Quebec defenders played at least 50 games in the Bettman circuit. Six others were limited to six and under.
This rarity comes as no surprise to anyone who has diligently followed the drafts of the past 10 years. Since 2012, only 48 QMJHL guards have found takers, for an average of less than five per auction. And in most cases, we are talking about late choices.
During that same period, only six were called in the first round. On it, one was from Nova Scotia and another was from Prince Edward Island.
Moreover, we have to go back to 1982 to see three Quebec defenders claimed among the first 32, the equivalent of the current first round. The lucky winners were Michel Petit (11th, Vancouver), René Badeau (28th, Chicago) and Jocelyn--- Gauvreau (31st, Montreal).
Therefore, it may seem surprising to see the names of Maveric Lamoureux (20th), Tristan Luneau (24th) and Noah Warren (33rd) among those likely to be called in the first round.
“Since we were young, the vintage of defenders from 2004, we have always been pretty good, even when we were playing tournaments in the United States or elsewhere,” said Warren, color holder of the Gatineau Olympiques.
“Maveric, Tristan and I played on the same summer teams. We may have improved by pushing each other, he added. Besides, Tristan and I continue to do it every day.
For his part, Lamoureux sees it more as a question of global recognition of what is being done in Quebec.
"This is a good thing. In Quebec, we are starting to develop more and more good players, he said. We are now with very good programs, from minor hockey to the QMJHL, including midget AAA. I think we've improved everywhere."
Since it must be taken into account that the NHL Central Scouting draws up a separate list for North American players and those playing in Europe, it would be surprising if Luneau, Lamoureux and Warren all heard their names in the first round. .
However, in the worst case scenario, they should not spend too much time inside the Bell Center on Friday, when rounds 2 to 7 of the draft are held.
Right-handed | 6'7" | 199 lbs.
“Lamoureux is a guy who skates well, who is good with the puck. He is a very agile defender for his size.
– An employee of an Eastern team
Right-handed | 6 ft 2 in | 189 lbs.
“Of the three, Luneau is the most intelligent, the most natural. He has excellent hockey sense. He is a player capable of creating scoring opportunities.
– A scout from an Eastern team
Right-handed | 6'5" | 224 lbs.
“Warren is muscularly ready. He is big, fat and strong. It is his strength. But in addition, it skates well. He makes good first passes. He has the elements to become an NHL player.
– A recruiter from the West