With the draft fast approaching, I’ve decided to take a look at some of Quebec’s most promising prospects in the class of 2022.
David Goyette missed his first season of OHL fitness due to the pandemic. Fortunately for him, he doesn’t seem to have been too impressed by this unexpected event. Goyette led the Sudbury Wolves and all OHL rookies in goals (33) and points (73), scoring 11 goals and 23 points more than his closest teammate.
Goyette stands out for its speed. He crosses the neutral zone with ease, classifying himself top 20 between OHL forwards in zone-per-game entrances and exits. Once he has gained territory with speed, he can just as easily deliver a quality shot or feed one of his teammates who have followed him on the rush.
In the offensive zone, he is a skilled record handler. It is placed in the top 20 of the league in successful fakes, a statistic that measures how many times he has managed to hold the puck after an opposing player has attempted to skewer it. He led the wolves in times of possession, completions and completions at the slot. In short, it was the heart and soul of Sudbury’s offense.
Goyette will have to work to limit his mistakes after recording a turnover rate of 19% in his rookie season, 147th among qualified forwards. It must be said that with the offensive load he had and the lack of support in the formation, he could try to do a little too much at times.
While his offensive play will steal the show, and with good reason, Goyette also brings quality defensive play. Don’t be fooled by the minus-6 record. After all, the Wolves finished penultimate in their association and maintained a minus-74 rating as a club. Only 2 Sudbury players have played at least 30 games and maintained a positive differential. Goyette is rather distinguished by its individual defensive impact. He has an active stick and good defensive instincts which allow him to rank among the leaders in blocked passes and harpooned pucks.
The first thing you notice about Nathan Gaucher is undoubtedly his impressive size. At 6’3 ”and 207 pounds, he’s already built for NHL penalties and has shown he doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of that physical advantage on the ice. He excels as a screen in front of the opposing goalkeeper, both for deflecting shots and for recovering returns. Result, 17 of his 31 goals came from the back of the enclave last year.
Left-handers also like to create precheck offenses. He puts pressure on the opposing defenders and forces several losses in the attacking zone, creating opportunities for himself and for his teammates. He played an important role for Quebec, which led the QMJHL in forecasting the possibilities in 2021-2022. While he’s not the fastest or most explosive skater, he’s still good with the puck and transitioning and has solid skating considering his size. He can attack at the entrance to the zone and help his team cross the central territory.
With just 0:27 of possession in the offensive zone per game and less than 9 completions in opposing territory per game, two points that rank off the pitch top-75 in the position, it is clear that Gaucher is not an extraordinary director. Rather, he is the player that the best passersby will try to reach in the enclave. Lefty will have to work to reduce turnovers in his game: last year he had a turnover rate of 19.5%, 142nd out of 250 qualified forwards.
In defense, Gaucher was a trusted man for the Remparts. He took part in 6.8 faceoffs in the backcourt, winning an average of 4 per game. Among the 23 centers that have taken part in at least 6 defensive zone faceoffs per game, his success rate of 59.1% places him in 3rd place. Just like he does at the other end of the track, Gaucher is not ashamed to get involved in battles for loose pucks in the defensive zone. He is therefore not surprising that he led the Remparts attackers in ice time short of one man.