This month our CHL draft rankings have been extended from lists of 25 to lists of 40. We’re already in December and for some people that indicates the HALF-WAY point of the season - it’s hard to believe, but as it always does the year is going by very fast. With our first expansion of the list we’ve also made a few notable revisions since the list was released last month. Lets have a look at who’s moving and why…
With the addition of another fifteen players, we’ve seen three individuals debut within the top-25.
St-Hyacinthe defenseman Julien Bonnet  has been consistent all season long. His omission from our initial list was based on preference for some players with what we perceived as higher upside. His continued momentum as a defenseman who offers not only a steady physical defensive presence, but also some intriguing offensive tools have made him a player who is worthy of the top-25 at this point in the season.
Another trending performer has been Gateineau defenseman Benjamin Bertrand . The smaller defenseman has good agility and does an excellent job getting out of his own zone. His debut at 22nd is as a result of simply becoming more reliable in our exposure, as well as showing that he can process the game quickly. While it will take some time to establish whether or not he can remain consistent in his positive attributes, he’s shown himself to be capable of performances justifying this position.
The final player to debut in the top-25 this month is one who’s been on a meteoric rise in our books. SSF Blizzard defenseman Louis-Alex Tremblay  had blended in at this summer's Quebec U16 camp, but his performance throughout the season has registered significantly. While there are some technical opportunities in his game, Tremblay offers a high level of processing both in his defensive positioning and in his ability to recognize and engage with loose pucks. He’s starting at 24 on our December edition of the list, but certainly has the potential to continue rising.
Positive movement in the top-10
While rankings past the top-25 are likely to be more volatile as the year progresses, we’re still early enough in the evaluation process that it’s expected to see movement within the top-10 range. This month three players have rocked the boat a bit, with strong performances at last months Monctonian resulting in some of the biggest changes.
Both Lane Sim [10 ->6] and Owen Conrad [14 -> 7], products of Pictou County’s Weeks Majors have vaulted themselves into the top-10 after contributing to their teams round-robin dominance of the Monctonian. Conrad’s draft stock is assisted by the fact that defensemen are likely to be at a premium for this year's QMJHL draft. He’s also one of the most physically mature players out of the entire class and offers a plethora of refined technical skills. While the lapses in engagement that held him out of our top-10 last month haven’t been entirely resolved, he’s an impossible player to ignore. Sim’s comprehensive awareness and sky-high technical skill are atop the pyramid in the Maritimes. His landing spot is ultimately unclear at this point in the season, as he has the option to declare for the OHL draft or consider an option in the US. On-ice product being the sole consideration for our list, he’s well deserving of a top-10 spot.
The second player from Telus Cup host St-Hyacinthe to be credited in this month’s update is center Caleb Desnoyers [6 -> 4]. Younger brother of Philadelphia Flyers prospect, Elliot, Caleb could continue to challenge others in the top-3 for a higher ranking as soon as next month. The sizable pivot keeps the pace of the game high as an F3, but knows how to play fast when he needs to. He may not steal the attention in transition the way that Nathan Lecompte  does but his versatility and two way awareness may be more sustainable and tend to lead to an equal amount, or more offensive zone time.
Other notable risers
Finally, as certain high-event players level of consistency has faltered through the opening months of the season, those who earn their offensive opportunities by way of a higher degree of composure have risen in their place. This list includes players like Dartmouth’s Cole Chandler [22 -> 18], who commands space in all zones, mixes in some skilled plays when appropriate, and rises to the challenge of a physical battle when necessary.
Chateauguay’s top defense pair rise together on our list as Jonathan Prud’homme [18 -> 14] and Benjamin Amyot [24 -> 17] continue to munch minutes for the Grenadiers, as well as deliver offensive results and top-notch defensive reliability. Again in their case as with Owen Conrad, the premium on defensemen this year could mean that teams will consider them even higher in the draft.
Lastly, a player who satisfies the role of F1 very well, but also works diligently to earn his space around the ice is Olivier Lampron [20 -> 15]. The St-Eustache Viking’s forward has reaped the rewards of his effort on the scoreboard and continues to give every bit of effort he can on a shift-to-shift basis. While there could be some volatility in his valuation throughout the year and among QMJHL teams he’s a player who has out-worked others in this range and thus earns a 5-spot jump to 15.
For the full details of the rankings, including full scouting reports and game reports, head over to the Players Rankings page and select QMJHL on the league dropdown menu.