Memorial Cup: the QMJHL neglected this year (Chronicle by Stéphane Leroux)

The Memorial Cup Round Robin begins Monday night in Saint John, New Brunswick – This will mark a return of this annual tournament for the first time since spring 2019 after two years of being the tournament’s best by Covid.

This year’s edition also marks the return of this feature to RDS for the first time after an 11-year absence. All matches of the tournament will therefore be broadcast over our airwaves for our greatest pleasure.

The Saint John Sea Dogs will serve as the hosting team after a 38-day forced leave. The Shawinigan Cataractes will represent the QMJHL, while the Hamilton Bulldogs and Edmonton Oil Kings are the Ontario and Western Champions, respectively.

Here is an analysis of the forces at play in what promises to be a very tough competition.

HAMILTON (107 points in season – 2nde CHL)

The Hamilton Bulldogs eventually faced adversity in the OHL Finals. It took the Bulldogs seven games to finally defeat the Windsor Spitfires after winning the first three rounds in 12 straight games. Hamilton is a hockey machine! – If she had reckoned with the current squad from day one of the season, it would probably be a record-breaking season in terms of wins and points in the standings.

Ever since general manager Steve Staios picked up Mason McTavish at Peterborough and Canadian candidate Arber Xhekaj at Kitchener over the holidays, the Ontario Steel City roster has gone on to an impressive 51-6-1 in their last 58 games. The Bulldogs also have OHL playoff MVP Logan Morrison and CH prospect Jan Mysak, who played 22 games with Laval Rocket in the American League last year. Undoubtedly, the Bulldogs should be viewed as competitive favorites.

EDMONTON (104 points in season – 4the CHL)

The Edmonton Oil Kings are an extremely impressive formation. Led by 1ah 2020 Canadian pick Kaiden Guhle, recipient of the WHL Playoff MVP title, the Sherwood Park defenseman, is quite possibly the best player in the CHL at all positions right now. Guhle and his blue line partner Luke Prokop (Nashville Predators Prospect) play big minutes and are extremely effective against opposing forwards.

In addition to Guhle, Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer relies on three other picks from the 1D In the fourth round, forwards Dylan Günther (Arizona), Jake Neighbors (St. Louis) and goaltender Sebastian Cossa (Detroit) are undoubtedly the best goaltenders of the four teams involved in the competition. A total of eight players belong to the NHL formations within the Oil Kings, the highest total among the participating teams as of next Monday. With the western champions tied 0-12 in their last four Memorial Cup tournaments (2016-19), it’s a safe bet that the streak will end quickly in New Brunswick this week.

SHAWINIGAN CATARACTS (84 points in season – 22e CHL)

The Shawinigan Cataractes eventually won their first President’s Cup by eliminating the top two teams overall in the last QMJHL season, the Quebec Remparts and the Charlottetown Islanders, in quick succession.

Captain Mavrik Bourque is the leader of this team. In 47 games this season, the Cats have held a record of 38-8-1 in uniform. Bourque has also won the Guy Lafleur Trophy, awarded to QMJHL playoff MVP. The Cats rely on two goalies, Antoine Coulombe and Charles-Antoine Lavallée, capable of challenging and pushing each other behind their backs. The defense does not rely on Xhekaj, Guhle or Prokop, but is still in good shape.

The Cats have the advantage of knowing the area around Saint John and apart from the Sea Dogs that were born in WW1ah In the second round of the playoffs, Shawinigan is the team that has relied on the longest break, which is never negligible at this stage of the season. Does the lack of draft on the 3rde and 4e Trios will be a factor in Daniel Renaud’s squad? We’ll see… One thing is for sure, with 7 wins in 7 overtime games in the playoffs, the Mauritian team head to Saint John full of confidence.

SEA DOGS SAINT JOHN (98 points in season – 9e CHL)

The Saint John Sea Dogs chew their teeth. The tournament’s host team, eliminated since May 12, had 38 days to prepare for their first game on Monday against the Hamilton Bulldogs. In the past, teams like Windsor in 2017 managed to win the precious trophy after such a long wait, but others also failed miserably like Saskatoon in 2013. In addition to the wait, the Sea Dogs players also had to deal with a new head coach grapple in Gardiner MacDougall, who came to replace Gordie Dwyer, who was sacked after failing in the first round against Rimouski.

MacDougall is only there for the duration of the tournament, he who has had much success at the national championships but was at varsity level with UNB’s Varsity Reds and to whom he will return next season. The Sea Dogs will be hungry and have the advantage of playing in front of their fans, but against three league-winning teams, the task promises to be daunting.

In summary, if we trust the alignments on paper we’re going with a final between Edmonton and Hamilton, but as the cliche goes, it’s going to be played on the ice. Good tournament on our waves…

25 players belonging to NHL teams will participate in the tournament

Edmonton (8) : Cossa (1-Detroit), Guhle (1-Montreal), Neighbors (1-St. Louis), Guenther (1-Arizona), Prokop (3-Nashville), Deaf (3-Florida), Demek (4-Vegas ), Luypen (7-Chicago)

John (8) : Kuznetsov (2-Calgary), Poirier (3-Calgary), Villeneuve (4-Toronto), Francis (5-Calgary), Dufour (5-Islanders NY), Ansons (5-Pittsburgh), MacDonald (5-Tampa Bay ). ), Daoust (6-Ottawa)

Hamilton (5) : McTavish (1-Anaheim), Grushnikov (2-Dallas), Mysak (2-Montreal), Winterton (3-Seattle), Xhekaj (Free Agent-Montreal)

Shawinigan (4) : Bourque (1-Dallas), Bourgault (1-Edmonton), Nadeau (4-Buffalo), Has (5-Washington)

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