Among the surprises in the QJMHL this season, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies have had a few players really emerge and and take a step forward. At the top of the list are a pair of forwards, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Mathieu Lemay who are handling large minutes, and often against the opponent’s best lines.
Jean-Sebastien Dea (C, 2013), Rouyn-Noranda
Went undrafted in first year of eligibility, and responded with a fantastic start to this season highlighted by 15 goals in his first 9 games (9-15-8-23) .. displays much improved focus and intensity compared to last year .. steadily learning to better use his tools more effectively .. possesses quick hands and impressive stick control which gives him the ability to release shots rapidly and win a good deal of his faceoffs (season faceoff mark sits at 54.3 %) .. likes to dart in and out of the crease quickly when he sees scoring chances .. demonstrates excellent hand-eye coordination that helps corral passes effectively .. boasts decent speed, yet looks quicker by keeping his feet moving at all times .. turns are sharp and controlled .. can be an asset defensively against skilled players as he pressures the puckcarrier effectively, however can have a very difficult time against physical players .. biggest issue for him is size and strength .. at 6-foot-0 and 160 pounds, he is quite undersized and can have a tough time winning battles for position .. size and strength issues also affect his capacity to take advantage of second and third scoring chances .. logs a lot of minutes with Rouyn-Noranda, one of the QJMHL clubs who travel the most miles – and the strain of it all is starting to show as he did not have a great month of January .. likely gets an invite to a pro camp unless he can re-elevate his game back to the levels of the first half of the season.
Mathieu Lemay (RW), 2013, Rouyn-Noranda
An average skater – stride is a bit choppy, yet he still manages to get to where he needs to go quickly enough .. takes pride in his defensive game and will sacrifice himself for the good of the team .. could improve his stick position and placement .. knows where players are on the ice when the puck is in his zone and manages to react fairly quickly .. not afraid to use his body to make a play .. will block shots when he has the chance or simply get out of the way if he doesn’t think he has the chance to get to it effectively .. steadily gaining more confidence in himself and will now initiate contact against opponents .. won’t contribute much offensively .. not very smooth with the puck, he has trouble handling the puck when moving at quick speeds .. also has difficulty corralling passes and making plays .. tends to drop his head when moving the puck which hampers his peripheral vision .. his shot is rather weak as well – and he will usually just try to get it to the net .. limited player in what he can do but still quite useful to a team with a strong system.