1708684943 Living with the pressure of being first choice The Canadian

Living with the pressure of being first choice: The Canadian is given the best prospects in the QMJHL

It can be hard for a young 16-year-old player to be selected as a first-round pick, but not for Tomas Lavoie, who was selected first overall in the 2022 QMJHL Draft.

• Also read: QMJHL Prospects: Sacrifice to get to the top

“We quickly forget the first choice label. The QMJHL Draft took place on July 4, 2022, which is just one day and just one rank. We saw it with Maxim Massé, who is a good friend, he was the one who won the Rookie of the Year title and he was drafted fifth after me,” says the Cape Breton Eagles defenseman.

Lavoie and Massé are among a group of QMJHL prospects welcomed by the Canadiens on Wednesday. In particular, they were welcomed in the locker room after the morning training session and Cole Caufield and Martin St-Louis came to chat with them.

The group also included striker Raoul Boilard and defender Alexis Bernier from Baie-Comeau Drakkar and defender Spencer Gill from Rimouski Océanic.

Living with the pressure of being first choice The Canadian

Photo agency QMI, JOEL LEMAY

Under control

Maxim Massé, originally from Rimouski, was named rookie of the year in both the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League last season. He is a top prospect, listed as the first Quebecer by NHL Central Scouting, and should be drafted at the end of the first round or during the second round.

Obviously he knows we're talking about him. His challenge is not to let all the noise affect him.

“I would be lying if I said I don't see what's happening on social media, I just watch it, but I have to ignore it and control what I can control. The lists are names on paper and I have no real control over them.”

Massé was particularly brilliant in his first season, scoring 29 goals and 33 assists for 62 points in 65 games at the age of 16. This season he has 27 goals and 29 assists for 56 points in 54 games. It may not be an overwhelming development, but the right winger is serious and talented and also has good size at 6-foot-4 and 193 pounds. This is the type of forward NHL teams want.

Attention increases

Raoul Boilard from Baie-Comeau Drakkar is an interesting case. He and his older brother Jules played last year in the BCHL, British Columbia's junior A league, where players hope to earn scholarships to an American university.

However, the two Boilards have traveled to the north coast this year and are having a dream season under the leadership of Jean-François Grégoire, and Raoul knows it is him.

“At the beginning of the year there are lists that come out, but as the draft gets closer you feel the attention and you have to control it. I remain a hockey player who wants to perform with the Drakkar and I think I can handle the attention well, it doesn't bother me too much.

Boilard has a record of 21 goals and 33 assists (54 points) in as many games and has interesting characteristics.

“In the last 15 games the eyes are more on you and it's time to show what kind of player you are. I am a complete center with offensive strengths who is able to create plays, score goals and I also want to be involved defensively.


Among the interested parties, the defender Spencer Gill is fascinating with a height of 1.80 m and an offensive performance that has increased from 4 assists last year to 10 goals and 26 assists this season. He is the leading defenseman in the QMJHL on the Central Recruitment List.

“When I was a midget, I produced. The last year was difficult for me. When you're 15 or 16, it's difficult to play against 19 or 20 year olds. A lot has changed this year because of trust.

The young native of the Moncton, New Brunswick area should have a chance to compete in the Memorial Cup as organization of the 2025 tournament has been turned over to Rimouski, but in the meantime he wants to add muscle to his body.

“I have a lot of room for improvement. I've grown fast so I want to build some muscle, that will help me,” he explains, citing Noah Dobson of the New York Islanders as his inspiration.