The Sherbrooke Phœnix Draft 14 Players in Charlottetown
After drafting Anderson MacDonald in the first round, 10th overall. Jocelyn Thibault and his team went to work drafting prospects with their remaining choices for the draft.
In the second round, the Phœnix claimed two young prospects. First, with the 25th selection, the team added Benjamin Tardif, a forward standing 5’09 “and 171 lbs from Île Perrot. Three choices later, it was the goalkeeper from the Magog Cantonniers, Justin Blanchette, selected by the Phœnix.
Tardif scored 28 points to in 44 season games and four points in six games with the Châteauguay Grenadiers in 2015-2016. He is described as a physical and effective player in all three zones. A good leader, he is inspired by Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. This summer, Benjamin wants to work on his explosiveness in his skating and improve his technique in face-offs.
Blanchette is a goalie who is comparable to Mike Smith of the Arizona Coyotes. Excellent around the net and is very aggressive, he was described by Jocelyn Thibault as a character player. He also performed very well in the playoffs with the Magog Cantonniers, which convinced the Phœnix leadership to invest a choice on him.
In the third round, Olivier Crête-Belzile joined the Phœnix family with the 45th pick. His brother Antoine Crête-Belzile plays for the Armada, Olivier is a defender who was listed in the second round and slipped slightly, but is still happy to land at Sherbrooke. With t size (6’01 “, 204 lbs), his game is inspired by Marc-Édouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks. He has a reputation for being very reliable defensively.
The next choice of Phœnix was in fifth round, taking winger Nathaël Roy. After experiencing one of his best seasons with 49 points in 28 games with the Collège de Lévis, Nathaël is a dynamic offensive skater comparable to Evgeni Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals and wants work on his speed in the offseason.
In the sixth round, Jacob Graveline from Roxton Pond was the choice of the Birds, then in the seventh round, the Phœnix had two consecutive choices. They used the picks to draft Felip Bourdeau of Snowy Triolet and the Magog Cantonniers (# 114) and center Dylan L’Italien from the Albatross of Notre Dame College (# 115).
Defenseman Isaak Châteauneuf donned the jersey of Sherbrooke in the tenth round, then defenseman Yann-Felix Lapointe from the Cantonniers and forward Nathan Todd of Estacades Trois-Rivières did the same in the eleventh round.
At the end of the draft, the Phœnix had drafted a fourth player from neighboring Magog with Tristan Gagnon, in the twelfth round. A native of Sherbrooke, the small forward said he was relieved to not only to be drafted in the QMJHL, but to be with his hometown team.
In terms of US players, Nolan Lavallee (13th round, 221st overall) and Kyle Haskins (14th round, 239th overall) were the choices of Jocelyn Thibault.
According to the Sherbrooke GM, chances are very good to see Nolan Lavallee, a big physical defender, cross the border. Haskins, meanwhile, is described as a fast and talented forward. In the last season with Selects Hockey Academy, he scored 16 points including four goals in 24 games. This is also with the same team Chase Harwell played with before the Phœnix.
It is noteworthy that the Phœnix have traded their sixth-round pick in 2017 to the Armada to acquire defenseman Olivier Schingh-Gomez. He had two assists in six games last season in the QMJHL, in addition to 33 penalty minutes.