Happy with the progression
Screaming Eagles happy with development of 2016 draft picks
When a 16-year-old player gets cut from a QMJHL training camp, it’s not because the team doesn’t like what they have to offer, it’s more a case of wanting the best for those players, development-wise.
The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles drafted 15 players at the 2016 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League entry draft in Charlottetown last June, with three of those players cracking the major junior team’s roster and the rest playing either midget AAA or junior A.
With the 2016-17 season finished, Jacques Carriere, Screaming Eagles head scout and assistant general manager, is happy with the progression of the team’s draft picks, especially those from the local area.
The Screaming Eagles drafted Cape Breton players Leon Denny of Eskasoni in round two and Colten Ellis of River Denys in round four, while Ryan MacLellan, who played with the Cape Breton West Islanders, but is from Antigonish, also being taken in round four.
“We really wanted him (Colten Ellis) to go and make a difference in midget AAA and he did just that,” said Carriere of Ellis helping the Islanders win the Telus Cup last weekend. “Like I said about Colten, it also applies to Ryan MacLellan. The guys that don’t make the team at 16-years-old and they come to camp, we want them to realize what it takes to be a major junior player and we want them to go back to midget AAA and turn it into a positive and leadership role, and we think both have done that.”
Carriere also spoke highly of Denny, who is currently playing with the Truro Bearcats at the Fred Page Cup eastern Canadian championships in Terrebonne, Que.
“What we are happy with about Leon is that he plays a rugged game and in order to play that kind of game, we felt he needed to play in a men’s league to play his style and develop his rugged style,” said Carriere. “He’s made an impact on his team and he’s played really well for them.”
Carriere said the team is also happy with the progression of
the three 16-year-olds, Adam McCormick, Kevin Mandolese and Olivier Bourret, who all made the team out of camp last year.
“We are really happy with the way they developed — they came to camp, competed and earned a spot,” he said. “As far as McCormick, we’re extremely happy with the way he played. Mandolese is on the radar for Hockey Canada and more than likely on the NHL Central Scouting list for next season. Bourret also developed well, we saw some good things in the latter part of the year.”
Carriere and his scouting team were recently in Boisbriand, Que., attending the Gatorade Frost Excellence Challenge, a tournament for the top 120 players for this year’s QMJHL Entry Draft from Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
He said the tournament is an important part of the season for scouts as its where they combine their Atlantic and Quebec scouting lists, eventually making an overall list heading into the draft each year.
This year’s QMJHL Entry Draft will take place on June 3 in Saint John, N.B.
Although the hockey season is finished, the work isn’t done for Carriere and his team. The club will prepare for the draft by having 50-60 in person interviews with players, while they will also conduct roughly 130 phone interviews in May and early June.
Colten Ellis of the Cape Breton West Islanders makes a glove save during action at the Atlantic major midget hockey championships in Miramichi, N.B., in April. and national titles this season.