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Val d’Or mining the future with Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Anthony Richard & Julien Gauthier

The Val-d’Or Foreurs went all-in this season looking for a President’s Cup championship without mortgaging its future.

Led by Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha, the Foreurs are one of the most offensively-charged teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Their top line is among the most potent in junior, but their offensive prowess is buoyed by contributions from a young group of forwards the team will rely heavily on as early as next season.

Top prospect Julien Gauthier will have plenty of time to marinate in junior before his draft year in 2016. The power-forward is already a dominant physical force and will be even more difficult to contain with added confidence and experience.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Anthony Richard may be smaller in stature, but compensate with a high motor and styles that press the issue.

McKeen’s Hockey QMJHL scout Rick Springhetti profiles the bright future of the Val-d’Or Foreurs’ program.

Nicolas Aubé-Kubel (2014), RW

VDO_AubeKubelNicolas_201314_95x141Hard working forward with excellent energy level .. keeps his feet moving in all three zones .. skates fairly quickly after his first few strides but improved strength would help him as his mechanics are solid .. gives a strong effort in the defensive zone, always looking to put pressure on the puck-carrier .. turns are precise and tight, enabling him to further pressure the puck-carrier .. has to learn to play the angles better to make himself bigger and cut down on passing lanes .. not overly creative but understands the importance of making quick decisions with the puck ..  gutsy forward who goes in the dirty areas to score goals .. will have to gain a good deal of strength .. tries to do too much when the games are important and will have to show some patience.

Anthony Richard (2015), C

VDO_RichardAnthony_201314_95x141Fast skater that seems even quicker due to his constant motion .. dangles in and out of traffic areas, adding pressure that causes opponents to defensive breakdowns ..  interprets game quickly in the offensive zone .. excellent puck control at top speeds .. possesses the capacity to corrals passes quickly without losing a step .. controls the puck well at top speeds .. doesn’t have a great shot but releases it so quickly with little warning that it catches opponents off-guard .. undersized forward who will have to improve his overall strength .. hesitant in his decision-making in the defensive zone .. can get in trouble when game is played tight due to his smaller size .. consistency from game to game remains a concern.

Julien Gauthier (2016), RW

VDO_GauthierJulien_201314_95x141First round pick, sixth overall at the 2013 QJMHL entry draft Gauthier is a physically imposing forward who comes from a long line of bodybuilders .. nephew of former NHL defenceman Denis Gauthier .. physically strong at an already impressive 6-foot-3, 220 pounds as a 16-year-old .. skates well for a young player with his size .. possesses a powerful skating stride that has some fluidity to it but his turns have to be tighter .. still lacks confidence with the puck and has the habit of getting rid of it too quickly at times .. shot is very heavy .. comes back hard defensively but needs to better understand positioning as he chases opponents at times .. doesn’t always play with the bite one would like to see from a player his size, but noted improvements have been made in his intensity .. a budding power-forward to monitor closely.