The QMJHL regular season ended on a particularly high note for three teams who made the final CHL Top 10 Rankings: The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (#3), Acadie-Bathurst Titan (#6) and Halifax Mooseheads (#9). Accordingly, all three teams have qualified for playoffs, which get underway March 22 with a first-round match-up between this year’s West Division Champions the Armada and the Val-d’Or Foreurs.
Final Standings Showcase the Best of the Best
West Division Champions: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Record: 50-11-4-3, 107 points. They have dominated all season and finished as the regular season champions, 11 points clear of the next best team in the league. The Armada also had the league’s best power play, with a 28.1 percent success rate.
East Division Champions: Rimouski Océanic. Record: 42-17-6-3, 93 points.
Maritimes Division Champions: Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Record: 43-15-8-2, 96 points.
NHL Prospects to Watch
The Armada is the team to beat this year, but there is also plenty of NHL draft talent to go around on their playoff opponents.
Halifax Mooseheads: Filip Zadina (Draft eligible, 2018), Maxime Fortier (Columbus Blue Jackets, signed 2017). Zadina is expected to be a top five pick in the NHL Draft. LWOS’ February Ranking slotted him at number three.
Acadie-Bathurst Titan: German Rubstov (Philadelphia Flyers, 2016, 22nd overall), Noah Dobson (Draft eligible, 2018) and Evan Fitzpatrick (St. Louis Blues, 2016, 59th overall). Dobson is expected to go in the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, possibly even in the top 10.
Key Playoff Match-Ups
The QMJHL’s top-ranked teams are all playing in the first round of playoffs, which begin on March. 22.
March 22: Blainville-Broisbrand Armada vs. Val-d’Or Foreurs. You only need to take on look at the Armada’s history to see why they took the league by storm this season. They have not missed playoffs since 2012. In 2017 the Armada were swept out of the President’s Cup final by the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Foreurs are a worthy opponent, but this is the Armada’s year and they are widely expected to be the winner of this series.
March 23: Acadie-Bathurst Titan vs. Chicoutimi Sagueneéns. Some of the Titan’s firepower came over in a trade with the Sags: German Rubstov and Olivier Galipeau. Noah Dobson is one to watch. In addition to his draft status, he also won the team’s awards for MVP, Student of the Year and the Fan’s Choice Award. Chicoutimi has Kevin Klima (son of former NHLer Petr Klima), but they also lost their last three games of the season. I would give the edge to the Titan.
March 23: Halifax Mooseheads vs. Baie-Comeau Drakkar. The name Filip Zadina may sound familiar because he is expected to be a top-five pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Tampa Bay Lightning fans may also be familiar with their prospect, Mooseheads center Otto Somppi. The Drakkar roster is young, which means they may have to wait their turn for a deep playoff run next year. But I wouldn’t count them out. They have three players ranked for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft: Gabriel Fortier, Xavier Bouchard and Jordan Martel. Plus, their team name implies that they are ready for battle: Drakkar is a type of Viking ship that resembles a dragon.
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