Halifax Mooseheads - QMJHL
The Mooseheads remain the top team in junior hockey. Their top players were away at the World Junior Championship, but they continued to roll.
The 2013 World Junior Championships have come and gone since my last update. Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were both members of Team Canada, finishing a disappointing fourth. MacKinnon was used in a checking role, finishing with a single helper in six games. He saw a bit of time with Drouin when the coaches attempted line juggling, but generally he was a fourth line player, not uncommon for an underager at this tournament. Drouin was a different story. Like MacKinnon, he was an underager at this tournament, but impressed the coaching staff enough to get a look on the second line with Niagara IceDogs linemates Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie. Canada went with a top line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Scheifele and Jonathan Huberdeau, but to shake things up, Huberdeau was dropped to line two with Drouin moving to the top unit. Drouin did not look out of place, and was one of Canada's more dangerous offensive threats. He finished the tournament with two goals, two assists for four points. The duo return to the Halifax lineup Friday night.
Since the last update, the Mooseheads have played five games, all without MacKinnon and Drouin. Three were at home with the other two on the road. The three home games were not a part of my ticket package.
December 28th: 4-1 win over the Eagles. Energy player Max Lindsay scored two goals to help seal the deal. Fucale stopped 15 of 16. This was the first of a home-and-home against Cape Breton.
December 29th: 4-1 win over the Eagles. In the second half of the battle of Nova Scotia, the Moose were victorious by the same score as the night before. The energy players came up big again. Fucale stopped 13 of 14.
January 3rd: 7-3 win over the Wildcats. Not a pretty game, but the Moose came out victorious thanks to three goals from defensemen. Fucale turned aside 16 of 19 Moncton shots.
January 4th: 3-2 OT loss to Saint John. On the night of their teddy bear toss, Halifax was on the losing end of a tight game against the Sea Dogs. Fucale stopped 21 of 24 shots. Saint John forward Stephen MacAulay scored a regulation goal for Saint John, more on him later.
January 6th: 5-2 loss to PEI. The Mooseheads did not look good against the high-scoring Rocket. Fucale was pulled after letting in four goals on 28 shots.
The Mooseheads are currently in Bathurst, leading the Titan 2-1 as I type. They return home Friday to take on the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, with a full roster and a lot to prove against one of the better teams in the QMJHL. On Saturday the Moose will have a chance to exact some revenge on the Rocket before heading out on a three game roadie. The play three games in three nights on the 18th to the 20th, facing Quebec, Sherbrooke and the Armada again.
MacKinnon's Current Stat Line:
Drouin's Current Stat Line:
Fucale's Current Stat Line:
Current Draft Rankings:
NHL Central Scouting: MacKinnon and Drouin are 1-2 in QMJHL Preliminary rankings. Fucale is the top ranked goaltender.
International Scouting Service (ISS): MacKinnon 1st, Drouin 4th (December Rankings)
Future Considerations: MacKinnon 1st, Drouin 6th, Fucale N/R (December Rankings)
McKeen's Hockey: MacKinnon 1st, Drouin 3rd, Fucale 24th (December Rankings)
Craig Button (TSN): MacKinnon 2nd, Drouin 4th, Fucale 14th (January Rankings)
CHL Subway Super Series - 5th, 7th November, 2012 (QMJHL Portion)
World Junior Championship - 26 December, 2012 -> 6 January, 2013
CHL Top Prospects Game - Halifax, 16 January, 2013
Mooseheads Team Update
The Mooseheads are once again ranked first overall in the CHL rankings. They have a record of 32-4-2-1, good for 67 points in 39 games. Dominic Beauchemin and Matthew Boudreau continue to be red-hot, while the plumbers on the bottom two lines have been contributors of late as well.
The QMJHL trade deadline was yesterday, and the Mooseheads made three deals during the trade period. The first was a very minor deal with PEI involving a swap of non-roster players. Remember earlier when I mentioned MacAulay? The day after he scored a goal against the Moose, Halifax traded for the overager. Going back to Saint John was the Mooseheads' 2013 4th rounder, and 2014 2nd round pick. This created a logjam of overagers, as teams can only dress three 20 year-old players per game. Konrad Abeltshauser, a 20, is the team's top defender. Overager Stefan Fournier is one of the co-captains for Halifax, currently sitting 10th in league goal scoring, and second in league powerplay goals with 14. This made overage blueliner Steve Gillard the odd man out. I feel for Gillard, as he was one of the top shutdown defenders on the team, and was with Halifax during the tough years. He will finish the season in Junior A. This deal is big for Halifax, as MacAulay has lots of winning experience, including a Memorial Cup with Saint John. He'll bring grit, leadership and some offense. He's currently fourth in the league in powerplay goals with 12.
The other deal is more of a futures deal, but will have an impact this season nonetheless. The Moose traded defenseman Randy Gazzola, their 2015 first round pick, and Quebec's 2014 first rounder (previously acquired) to the Val D'Or Foreurs for 17 year old defenseman Matt Murphy and a 2014 second round pick. Murphy wanted out of Val D'Or, and is a perfect fit for Halifax. He's ranked 24th by NHL Central Scouting in the preliminary QMJHL skater rankings, and will be a big part of the future blueline in Halifax. He was drafted 5th overall in the Q draft in 2011, the year that MacKinnon and Drouin went 1-2. Look for Murphy to go in the first half of the NHL draft this year.