2024 QMJHL Draft Rankings: February Update

Posted on Austin Robson
Benjamin Cossette-Ayotte

The end of February brings with it yet another update to our 2024 QMJHL Draft rankings. Although we decided not to expand our rankings past 80 players, there was plenty of movement on our board from last month with some significant rises including two new entries into our top 10. Although there weren’t any major tournaments going on throughout the month of February, we were able to look back on some old film from the CCM Challenge and the East Coast IceJam along with some regular season games from all the Eastern Canadian leagues. With the playoffs getting underway all across Eastern Canada and the third phase of the QMJHL Cup set to kick off in April, you should expect more shake-up on our board as we inch closer towards draft day.

Our updated top 80 2024 QMJHL Draft Rankings can be accessed via the 2024 QMJHL Draft Center.


USHL Tender News

Our #1 ranked prospect, Tynan Lawrence, signed a tender this month to play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 2024-25 this season, making it highly unlikely he comes over to play in the QMJHL next season. Of course, nothing is set in stone with these sorts of things, as top 2023 QMJHL Draft prospect Liam Kilfoil tendered to the Dubuque Fighting Saints midseason before joining the Halifax Mooseheads for the 2023-24 season after they took him in the second round. Regardless, we still see Lawrence as the best prospect in this draft, therefore he will not be moving from the #1 spot unless another player’s on-ice play dictates that we do so.

Concerning our 9th ranked prospect Cameron Chartrand, there have been rumblings that he will be heading the NCAA route; although nothing is confirmed, and he has yet to sign a tender with a USHL club. His move from 5th to 9th on our board this month has nothing to do with these rumours, as we still believe Chartrand is one of the premiere defenders in this class and he will be selected very early if he ends up committing to the QMJHL.


Movement in the Top 10

We had two names break into our top 10 this month with Benjamin Cossette-Ayotte and Chad Lygitsakos of the Trois-Rivières Estacades coming in 6th and 10th respectively. Cossette-Ayotte finished tops among U16 defenders in scoring by quite a margin in the M18AAA Québec circuit, amassing 31 points in 35 games while being tasked with big time minutes. It took me a while to come around to his high-risk high-reward style of play, but he has improved immensely in his own zone throughout the year and is one of the best defenders at denying zone entries in this class. Lygitsakos is a player who caught fire in February, finally using his high-end offensive toolkit to take over games and produce at a high rate. Over the month he accumulated a whopping 18 points in 8 games, ending up with 41 points in 42 games on the year. If he continues on this torrid pace, Lygitsakos is definitely a player who could climb further up our board with a strong playoff performance.

This month saw the return of two highly acclaimed forwards to our board in Quinte Red Devils’ Maddox Dagenais and Steele Subaru’s Aiden O’Donnell. There was some speculation that both these players were making themselves eligible for the OHL Draft, although this rumour seems to have subsided and both players seem to be solidified as QMJHL prospects. Dagenais saw a slight rise from where we had him in December, coming in at 4th on our board. The highly-skilled 6’2 170lbs centerman finished the OMHA U16 season with 81 points in 35 games, good enough for second in league scoring. When he’s on his game I think he has the potential to be a play driver at the next level, although I do believe he needs to alleviate a few warts in his game before that happens. O’Donnell re-enters at 7th on our board, fresh off a stint with Team Canada at the Youth Olympic Games. He ended his year with 46 points in 31 games, earning himself NSU18MHL rookie of the year honours in the process. I still worry about his ability to drive play and create space by himself at the next level, but he remains one of the more intelligent offensive players in the entire class. A strong showing at the QMJHL Cup against the rest of the top prospects could re-solidify him as a sure-fire top 5 prospect.


Some Notable Risers

The player who rose the highest on our board from January was Séminaire St-François defenseman Louis-Félix Gagnon, jumping 20 spots from 51st to 31st on our board. I’ve been a fan of Gagnon’s game all season as he’s shown vast progression in every month since the beginning of the season. Along with his stout defensive game, the offense began to come along for Gagnon who amassed 10 points in 7 games in February. We’re not the only ones beginning to notice the uptick in Gagnon’s game, as QMJHL Central Scouting (CSR) recently rewarded him with an ‘A’ rating on their mid-season list.

Samuel Boyer made the jump from 36th to 25th in our rankings this month, while also earning an ‘A’ rating from CSR in the process. While the production still isn’t eye-popping for a player of his skillset, I thought Boyer was showing a lot more initiative with the puck on his stick in my viewings of him this month. He was using his skill to gain access to the middle of the ice more often, which lead to him creating more high-danger chances for him and his teammates. He was one of the top shot creators in the entire M18 circuit throughout the regular season, and there’s no reason why a strong playoff performance couldn’t put him in into first round consideration.

Jacob Hartlin’s performance at the IceJam made me more of a believer in his game and its translatability to junior hockey. He rose from 37th to 27th on our board thanks to his skilled and tenacious style of play, demonstrating the ability to beat defenders one on one and be a nuisance on the forecheck. He ended his season with 27 points in 29 games for the Halifax McDonald’s and looks poised for a big playoff run.

Austin Robson