Welcome back to Top Shelf Hockey Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Maxime Comtois.
The 3rd overall pick in the 2015 QMJHL Draft, Maxime Comtois started the season with a strong performance for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, putting up four goals and five points in five games. Also coming off a 26 goal, 60 point campaign in 62 games in 2015-16 with the Victoriaville Tigres, most analysts had Comtois as a top ten prospect heading into the season. Things didn’t quite go as planned as Comtois and the Tigres had a tough season. He saw his offensive numbers drop to just 22 goals and 51 points in 64 games. Comtois would finish the year, again wearing Team Canada colours, and scoring two goals in five games at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships.
He scored twice for Team QMJHL in the Canada/Russia Super Series, as well as scoring at the CHL Top Prospects Game.
Maxime Comtois Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #30
Left Wing/Right Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born January 8th, 1999 — Longueuil, Quebec
Height 6’2″ — Weight 200 lbs [188 cm / 91 kg]
Comtois is a good, but not great, skater. He could stand to improve his first step quickness, but once he gets going he moves well enough. He has good top-end speed and has the ability to change gears and accelerate quickly. Comtois also has the power in his stride to fight through checks and get to the front of the net. His edge work and agility are decent.
Comtois is a goal scorer for the Tigres. He has an excellent array of shots, with good power and accuracy on his wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot. A sniper, Comtois has a very quick release that can handcuff opposing goaltenders. While he has the shot needed to score from the slot and face-off circles, he also has the soft hands to beat a goalie in close to the net. Comtois can score goals with deflections, rebounds, and by quickly burying a pass in tight. He can also drive the net off the rush, or when working in the offensive zone.
Comtois also has decent vision and passing skills. He can extend plays by using his stick handling as well as his body to protect the puck and control the play along the boards. Once teammates get open he can make a pass through tight openings. Comtois has good size and is not afraid to work along the boards or in front of the net. He pressures defenders well on the forecheck, creating turnovers. Comtois could stand to add some muscle to his frame to help him in board battles and establishing position in front of the net going forward.
Comtois has been given big responsibilities for the Tigres, including killing penalties. He has good positioning and the work ethic in his own end of the ice. He is more than willing to support the defence with strong back pressure, as well as working against the cycle game.
Projection and Comparison
There is some question if Comtois difficult season and regression in his numbers is an indication of plateaued development for the youngster, or are they merely as a result of not having talented linemates to play with in Victoriaville. He did seem to get off to a very slow start while Pascal Laberge was in NHL camp, and while he picked up his production somewhat on his return, it still didn’t reach the levels that scouts expected before the season. This red flag makes Comtois a risky pick. However, one year ago he was seen as a potential top line power forward. With the possibility of finding that potential, he could be an intriguing pick late in the first round or early in the second. His style is reminiscent of Ryan Smyth, a long-time member of the Edmonton Oilers.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect available on our draft board.