2016 QMJHL Gatorade Excellence Challenge recap

The QMJHL hosted their 4th annual Gatorade Excellence Challenge in Boisbriand, Quebec from April 28 to Mai 1st. The best draft eligible prospects from Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edouard Island and Newfoundland were at this event. Here’s our recap of the event.

6th place: Prince Edward Island

Team P.E.I. finished last in the standings, going 0-5 in the tournament, and was outscored 27-10. By being the smallest province in the country, they lacked the depth that other provinces have, but they showed a great work ethic all tournament long and had some close games versus New Brunswick on Saturday and Sunday.

3 notable players:

Noah Dobson D: Serving as P.E.I.’s captain, Dobson was the player who played the most on the team, playing in all situations. He is easily the most talented player on the team. He didn’t record any points in 5 games, but he was really good with his skating and passing abilities. He’s good at rushing the puck from his zone and he almost scored a highlight-reel goal in their last game of the tournament. He also dished out some good hits in his own zone.

Connor McGregor F: A great effort from McGregor in the tournament, who led the team with 4 goals and worked his butt off each game. He threw his weight around at will on the forecheck. He was involved in the play and scored goals in the tougher areas of the ice.

Thomas Casey F: It was our first time viewing this player, as he played this past season in Saskatchewan. He is easily the best skater among the forward groups on his team. He uses his speed well while carrying the puck or while on the backcheck, where he works hard to get back. He worked hard every game and finished the tournament with 4 points, including a highlight-reel goal in the last game of the tournament.

5th place: New Brunswick

After finishing in 3rd place last year, it was a bit of step back for team New Brunswick, who finished 5th this year. With less talent on this squad, they had a tougher time scoring than last year and it hurt them in big games versus the top teams at this event. They finished the tournament with two big wins against P.E.I. on Saturday and Sunday.

3 notable players:

Anderson MacDonald F: The big forward, who just came back from playing in the Telus Cup in which he played 7 games in 7 days, had a decent tournament with 5 points in 5 games. With not a lot of help around him, he had a tough time generating offense versus the top teams at this event. He has great tools and showed flashes of brilliance in some shifts with his speed and shot.

Chad Doiron F: Doiron was a player we liked the more we watched him during the event. He had some nice flashes offensively during the week and finished with 3 goals and 4 points. He made smart plays at both ends of the ice and was consistent in all of his team’s games.

Simon Elsliger D: The small defenseman finished the tournament with 3 points in 5 games; his speed and footwork really stood out. He rushed the puck out of his zone with ease and could get away from pressure easily. His lack of size hurt him in terms of winning battles along the boards but his footspeed is among the best of any player at this event.

4th place Newfoundland

Newfoundland had a good event, playing for the bronze medal game on Sunday. They had a big win over Nova Scotia on Saturday and also did well against Team Quebec Blue on Thursday, keeping the game close for most of that matchup. This was not a team with a lot of high-end players as they had in 2013 or 2014 with Nathan Noel and Jordan Maher, but all worked hard and played a strong team game.
3 notable players:

Andrew Rose G: Rose made the most of the two starts he was granted. In his first start, he kept the game close for the first two periods versus a strong Team Quebec Blue. For his 2nd start he made 38 saves against Nova Scotia, giving Newfoundland their biggest win at this event. He had a tough 3rd period coming in relief on Sunday, but that game was already out of hand. We liked his size and composure in net.

Matt McKim F: Serving as team captain, McKim was one of top forwards for Newfoundland at the event and finished the tournament with 4 points, tied for top scorer on his team. McKim is a fluid skater with nice creativity with the puck on his stick and played well at both ends of the ice.

Lucas Osmond D: Osmond played a good two-way game at this event. There was nothing flashy out of him, but he was very efficient on the ice. He moved the puck quickly and made a good first pass out of his zone. He showed good footwork and a good active stick, making him tough to beat one on one.

3rd place: Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia was in the running to play in the 1st place game until Saturday, where they lost twice during the day against Newfoundland and Quebec Blue. They got their revenge against Newfoundland on Sunday, beating them 9-1 in the 3rd place game. On Friday against Quebec White, they had their best game of the tournament, losing in a shootout versus the eventual winners of this event.
3 notable players:

Logan Timmons F: Despite being the smallest player on the team, he was involved in the play all tournament long. Not tall, but he’s strong on his skates and played a physical game throughout the tournament as well. We liked his compete level and he also added some offense, scoring twice and adding two assists.

Andrew Coxhead F: The big winger from Nova Scotia might have liked to score more, but we can’t say enough good things about his compete level in all three zones. During this event, he played with his linemates from Dartmouth (MacKinnon and Henman) and they were the team’s top line at this event. Coxhead played in all situations and was strong in shorthanded situations.

Jared McIsaac D: The captain of Nova Scotia had a good showing at the tournament; he really impressed in the first game and scored a very nice goal off a perfect shot from the point. He’s big, powerful and a smooth skater. He played physical all event long, throwing many good hits along the boards.

2nd place: Quebec Blue

Quebec Blue had a great showing at the event but couldn’t find a way to beat Quebec White. They lost in the preliminary round and also in the final on Sunday, only scoring twice in those two games. Quebec Blue had won the 2014 and 2015 events.
3 notable players:

Xavier Bouchard D: Bouchard finished 1st among point-scorers in the tournament, with 7 points in 5 games. He was offensively involved and really quick to move the puck in the transition game. He scored a goal on both the PP and PK during this event. On the power play, he showed good puck distribution and a willingness to make an impact in the game offensively.

Raphael Lavoie F: Lavoie was strong along the wall in the event, making good use of his size to protect the puck. He had a good compete level and showed some interesting flashes offensively while rushing the puck during the tournament. He showed good work ethic while playing at both ends of the ice.

Justin Ducharme F: Ducharme scored three times during the event and was a factor because of his great speed. He can really fly on the ice with his powerful stride and great burst in the neutral zone. He was pushing the pace of the game with his speed. He was strong on his skates and showed good puck-protection along the wall in the offensive zone.

1st place : Quebec White

Quebec White won the tournament, going undefeated at the event. It was the first time Quebec White won this event since the first edition of the Gatorade Excellence Challenge. They had a very solid group of forwards, even if they lost some players with injuries during the event. Olivier Rodrigue was rock-solid in net in his three starts, giving up only two goals.

3 notable players:

Cedric Desruisseau F: Desruisseau led the tournament in goals with five, and was tied for 2nd in the scoring race with 6 points. He showed a great nose for the net and, despite his size, was not shying away from tougher scoring areas. We keep knocking him for his size, but he didn’t disappoint at this event.

Guillaume Desmarais F: Desmarais unfortunately got hurt in a game on Saturday and didn’t play the rest of the event. Before that, he was having a terrific event with five points in four games. He used his size well while playing physical on the forecheck, creating space for his teammates, and taking a lot of shots on net.

Samuel Houde F: Houde showed his versatility at this event by playing in all situations and also playing the point on the PP. He scored three goals in the tournament and added an assist. On the point on the PP, he showed good puck distribution and vision, and was also good at carrying the puck into the offensive zone with his good stickhandling abilities.