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Saturday, October 16, 2010

QMJHL notes: Quebec still without regulation loss

The Quebec Remparts have started extremely well in the QMJHL, posting a 10-0-1 record.

The Remparts are getting a lot of their production from older, veteran players and don't have a lot of 2011 draft prospects on their roster, although one player in particular who was a '92 and passed over last June in L.A. is starting to gain some notice after having scored 11 goals (20 points) in as many games to begin the year.

Czech center Tomas Filippi, who has excellent puck skills and offensive instincts, didn't get the call in 2010 because of questions about his intensity and compete levels. At 6-1, 177 pounds, he's still got a lot of work to do in the weight room, but has a long, loping stride and has done a much better job of staying motivated in the QMJHL, his first North American season. He's currently fourth in the QMJHL scoring race alongside fellow Rempart overagers Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Joël Champagne (1st and 3rd respectively). Anytime you're talking about a guy who can score at a goal-per-game clip in any league, he's going to get on the radar. If Filippi continues to play hard, he'll likely get a draft ticket. Of course, I thought Marek Hrivik was a sure bet last year and he was passed over for a second time after putting up a solid, solid year in Moncton. So, we'll have to see where Filippi ends up.

Also keep an eye on goaltender Jimmy Appleby, who is Louis Domingue's backup and wasn't thought of much in preseason draft discussions, but has put up impressive numbers with a 3-0 record in five games, 1.54 GAA, .927 save percentage (with a shutout). Although small (5-10, 165) Appleby is extremely quick and athletic and his style and attitude remind me a bit of Andy Moog and Mike Vernon; aggressive, combative and effective. Appleby wasn't expected to see much action this season behind Domingue, but his outstanding play and composure mean that he'll get more of the goaltending chores so long as he can keep it up.

Victoriaville's Phillip Danault is also making a little noise in the scoring department, as the 6-foot, 170-pound left winger has five goals and 14 points in 12 games for the Tigres. This kid reminds me a lot of current B's prospect and Providence (AHL) leading scorer Max Sauve at the same age, and while he's not going to be a highly-touted draft pick, I think he will end up in the second round somewhere and will ultimately raise his stock because of his skating and scoring acumen.

I hear than Nathan Beaulieu is recovering from the rough start to his season and playing a much better all-around game. He was tremendous at Team Canada world junior evaluation camp as a skilled two-way defenseman who can do just about everything, but wasn't scoring or playing a particularly effective defense when the 'Q' kicked off. Nice to hear that his play has improved and he's rounding into form.

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