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2019 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: #19 Maxime Fortier leaves everyone wondering why he couldn’t handle the transition to the AHL

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AHL: OCT 11 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Cleveland Monsters Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Thanks to the over 80 of you who voted in our poll! We combined your votes and the writers’ votes and our Top 25 Under 25 continues today:

#19: Maxime Fortier

Voting

19th out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote:
Readers’ Vote: t-18
Highest Placement: 6 (1 vote)
Most Common Placement: 16, 20, 21 (5 votes each)

Biography

Birthdate: December 15, 1997
Birthplace: Montreal, QC, CAN
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 183 lbs
Position: Right Wing
Acquired: Signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets on 11-03-2017. The Halifax Mooseheads wrote a nice article about Fortier getting passed over in the NHL draft twice. You can read it here.

2018-19 Season

At the end of the 2017-18 season, I was ecstatic to know Maxime Fortier would be headed to the Cleveland Monsters in the fall. Three season in a row he finished with 75 or more points for the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). The Monsters were in desperate need of scoring power and Fortier would be able to answer the call.

Except, that’s not quite what happened during the 2018-19 season. A slow start and an abundance of forwards in Cleveland led Fortier to be reassigned to the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL) on November 15th.

Fortier returned to the Monsters lineup on January 9th, 2019 on the fourth line with Vitaly Abramov and newcomer Dan DeSalvo. In his first game back with the squad, he played a quiet game and tried to adjust to the Monsters system. The next few game were good ones for Fortier as he finally got his groove back a bit. On January 12th, he was rewarded with a move to the third line to play with Kole Sherwood and Ryan MacInnis. While on that line, Fortier showed off his incredible speed and ability to clear the puck at the right time to be able to make a line change. For the next three games, Fortier wavered between incredible skill and not so incredible skill. However, he could still take a hit and outmuscle the opposition when making a run at the net.

Unfortunately, as the season drew on, Fortier had trouble out muscling the bigger defensemen he faced throughout the league. Then, selfish play began to creep into his repertoire. Fortier was so desperate to make a splash and retain a spot on the team that he stopped passing to his teammates. He wanted to make the play and be the hero of the game. This was very uncharacteristic of Fortier who is typically a team player.

Knowing they needed someone who was consistent and could handle the bigger defensemen in the playoffs, Fortier was sent to the IceMen on April 2nd, 2019. He played a pivotal role in the IceMen’s run for the Kelly Cup scoring seven points over six games.

2019-20 Forecast

The Columbus Blue Jackets organization is lush with forwards fighting for consistent spots in the line up right now. If Fortier wants a shot to crack the Monsters opening night roster, he needs to bring everything in his arsenal to Blue Jackets and Monsters training camp. Fortier needs to prove his time in the QMJHL wasn’t a fluke or because he was playing in juniors. He needs to wow the pants off of Coach Eaves, Coach Vogelhuber, Coach McCarthy, and GM Clark. Most importantly, Fortier cannot play a selfish game in Cleveland. They won’t put up with it there. Hopefully, he got that out of his system in March.

Consistency will be key for his success in the minors. Building upon and honing the skills he already possesses will be the key to having a shot at the majors.