(Nashville) We weren’t expecting a big harvest for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) early in this 2023 draft, and we weren’t wrong. No hope of the Quebec circuit was indeed selected during the 1st round of the auction.
Gabriel Perreault, the son of former player Yanic Perreault, is the only Quebec native to have been selected during this first round, by the Rangers in 23rd place. Perreault, however, has lived in Chicago for about ten years and plays for the United States internationally.
This is the first time since 2014 that no Quebecer has been selected in the 1st round. That year, Dane Nikolaj Ehlers, however, saved the QMJHL from being cleared. The Jets drafted him 9th overall.
This is the first time since 2008 that the Cecchini circuit has been absent from the first round. It also happened in 2000.
This weak representation of the Quebec circuit was predictable at the NHL evaluation camp in Buffalo three weeks ago. Among the 106 players invited, the QMJHL had only seven representatives, compared to 20 for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and 21 for the Western Hockey League (WHL). The small number of players was all the more surprising as no Russian participated in the evaluation camp. The pool of hopes of the other territories should therefore have been higher.
These development camp invites are based on team requests. Only players who interest enough clubs are invited to Buffalo.
This trough comes at a time when the QMJHL is doing well in the Memorial Cup. Clubs from the Quebec league have won the last four editions of the tournament: Quebec (2023), Saint John (2002), Rouyn-Noranda (2019) and Acadie-Bathurst (2018).
Clearly, hockey fans in Nashville were not spoiled like those in Montreal last year. Indeed, only two transactions were concluded on June 28, both before the start of the session.
Additionally, none of these trades involved 1st round picks. The Lightning first traded forward Ross Colton to the Avalanche for a 2nd round pick, and the Penguins then acquired winger Reilly Smith from the Golden Knights for a 3rd round pick.
That said, several of the big names expected in the deal market had already been traded in the previous days, whether Pierre-Luc Dubois, Tyler Toffoli or Kevin Hayes. Two first-round picks have changed hands since the Stanley Cup Finals were concluded: the 22nd (Ivan Provorov trade) and the 31st (Alex Newhook trade).
According to colleague Frank Seravalli, this is the first time since 2007 that no trade has been made during the first round of the draft.
As of 2022, six deals involving 1st round picks have been completed on the day of that 1st round. Everyone will obviously remember the three-team trade initiated by the Canadiens, who sent Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall pick, before giving up that 13th pick to the Blackhawks against Kirby Dach.