AP's Coaches Blog; 2017 QMJHL Draft Preview

With the Annual QMJHL Midget Draft coming up this weekend in Saint John, NB, here is the skinny on what I believe will go down for #xhockeyalums (keep in mind that this blog discusses players who have attended X Hockey in the past). For a look at the final rankings, visit here http://chl-wordpress-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/app/...

It is no surprise that Alex Newhook is ranked in the top-5 of this years draft, even though the youngster from the east end of Sin City is already committed to Boston College. Newhook was a superhero for the York-Simcoe Express in 2016-17, notching 82 points in only 40 games played. When your name is being mentioned in the same breath as guys like Stamkos and Hall in terms of Midget Hockey success, you deserve to be recognized as a top 2001-born player in the class. Newhook plays in all ends of the ice, skates well, and is both physically and mentally mature. However, I would not spend a precious top-5 pick on Newhook because of his college commitment. Newhook is a family man, and with his sister Abby looking at potential NCAA schools, I foresee both Newhook siblings attending Boston College in 2021-22.

Dawson Mercer might be the most explosive talent in this #xhockeyalums class. Mercer tallied 34 points across 29 games of various levels at Bishop's College in 2016-17, and his game tape shows a player who can light up the scoreboard. I haven't had the opportunity to work with Mercer much in recent years, and would love to have the chance to see him up close this summer. I have seen on some draft sites that Mercer is ranked as high as 10th overall, which bodes well for the kid from Bay Roberts. I feel that Mercer will be a first round selection in this draft, somewhere in the 14-18 overall range.

Kyle Petten is an intriguing prospect in this years draft class. Petten is a speedy forward that despite his 5'7'' frame, can really force the issue on the forecheck. Petten is naturally strong, and is very solid on his boots. This is a new generation-type player; everyone is looking for speed, speed, and more speed, which is something that the Bay Roberts native will bring to the table every night. I'll be waiting to hear Petten's name early in the second round - take that to the bank.

Brendan McCarthy is an enigma to me - he is an #xhockeyalum who I have not seen in a long time. It's hard for me to handicap a guy who I haven't seen much of, however, sources are always asking me about the kid which is a good sign. McCarthy is projected to go in the 5th round, so I will stick with this projection. McCarthy's offensive output at the Midget level passes the smell test - 37 regular season points to go along with over 2 points per game in the playoffs.

Maybe, Could be, Might be Drafted....

Once you get past Round 5 of the draft rankings, players get clumped into sections in alphabetical order. Some #xhockeyalums who are in the mix here are:

Drew Bennett (F): This is a kid that I have always liked. Drew has worked on improving his skating stride in recent summers with me, and I commend him on his efforts and coachability. Bennett is a kid who is always asking questions during and after practice - you root for kids like that. I hope to see Drew's name off the board at some point in this draft, once most of the 2001's are taken (Bennett is a 2000-born player). I can see a team taking a chance on Bennett, who filled the net in Midget AAA this year (54 points in 32 games).

Jack Keough (F): Another kid who I have always liked! Very coachable, and had a monster year with the ECB Midget AAA's this year. There's a lot to like here, especially on the offensive side of the puck. I think that regardless of his draft status, you will see this kid at the Junior A level in 2017-18 which will be good for Keough's development.

Michael Oliver (D): This kid is a project at 6'1'' and 170 lbs. I can almost guarantee that a team will take a flyer on a kid with Michael's physical tools in the middle rounds.

Tim Noble (F): Noble is a kid that always leaves me wanting more. At 6'1'' and 188 lbs, Noble is physically capable and has all the tools in the tool box at his disposal. If everything clicks for the St. John's native, there is late round steal potential here. Noble has a respectable year at the NL Midget AAA level this year, potting 38 points in 30 games as a 2000-born skater.

Mark Rumsey (F): Another physical specimen at 6' 194, Rumsey is an interesting case. I was looking to see his name inside the Top 5 rounds in the rankings, but anything can change on draft day. Rumsey has committed to doing some on-ice work with me this summer, so I will get a first-hand look at the young man.

Regan Seymour (F): Superintendant Chalmers (Simpsons reference; Regan knows what I'm talking about) is a great kid whos name I would love to hear on draft day. Seymour hasn't filled into his 6'1 frame just yet, but I think that one more year of Midget AAA will really help him. The AAA Leafs had a lot of talent playing in front of Seymour in 2016-17, but with Kyle McGrath likely playing Major Junior full-time and Cody Langmead graduating, Seymour will get every opportunity to impress scouts in 2017-18.

Until Next Time,