We were kept pretty busy watching 2024 QMJHL prospects this month with the 24 team Monctonian Challenge and the U18 Quebec league humming along as well. Another month of expanded viewings has allowed us to expand our initial top 20 rankings into a top 40 for the month of November.
The finalizing of this list was an arduous process with many players considered for the final few spots. With the upcoming CCM Challenge and the second phase of the QMJHL Cup all happening between December 13-17th, I’m sure there will be plenty of fluctuation in our future rankings as we get some Quebec-Maritimes crossover play and our first look at some players from the M17 AAA Quebec circuit.
Our updated 2024 QMJHL draft rankings can be viewed at our 2024 QMJHL Draft Center.
The Big Four
I decided not to tamper with the positions of our top four players seeing as I didn’t think any of them played themselves out of their current spot. Tynan Lawrence continues to hold our number one spot, but the gap is shrinking as Dylan Rozzi and Aiden O’Donnell continue to be key offensive cogs on their respective clubs. O’Donnell was especially impressive at the Monctonian where he had five goals in six games en route to a heartbreaking loss in the championship game against the Fredericton Caps. Romain L’Italien was riding a five game point streak before he was injured in a game late in the month and hasn’t returned to action. Both Rozzi and L’Italien (if healthy) will be competing at the CCM Challenge in December, so watch for them to potentially make some noise and challenge for that number one spot.
Movement in the Top 10
St Hyacinthe forward Niko El Khouri was our biggest riser in this months rankings going from 16th to 8th thanks to a dynamic month of production which saw him amass 12 points in 7 games. His ability to create offense in a myriad of ways, whether it be with his feet, his hands or his off-puck movement, has truly taken a massive leap in this young season. With so much more room to grow I think El Khouri owns one of the highest ceilings in this years draft and I’m excited to see what damage he can do at the CCM Challenge.
Jacob Gouchie took over as my number one ranked defender by making the jump to 5th after a very stellar Monctonian performance. His combination of physical maturity and advanced offensive traits make him such a promising young defender who won’t need as much time to acclimate to the Junior game as his draft-eligible counterparts.
You won’t have to scroll too far down to find our former top defenseman in Jackson Batchilder who finds himself at 7th on our list. His drop in the rankings wasn’t performance based by any means. The high-end skating and puck movement ability were all apparent at the Monctonian, making him one of the more effective transition players in the tournament. However, up until now I haven’t seen the same offensive potential I saw from Batchilder at the QMJHL Cup while playing for Charlottetown. Not that I believe he’s a defenseman who needs production to be effective, but a bit more offensive activation in his game would go a long way in making him a more well-rounded defenseman.
There were four new players who we felt were deserving enough to enter first round consideration base on their play this last month. Most of them were players who I highly considered placing into our initial top 20 to begin with but who also really stepped up their games and who look to be on an upward trajectory.
Trois-Rivieres defenseman Benjamin Cossette-Ayotte is our highest riser this month, claiming the 13th spot for the month of November. After missing the first couple of games with an injury, Cossette-Ayotte stepped into the Estacades lineup and made an immediate impact on both ends of the ice. He isn’t afraid to take the puck up the ice himself, thanks to a long skating stride that allows him gain separation from opponents. Despite missing some action he still sits among the top of scoring for rookie defenders with 11 points in 19 games.
Jayden Plouffe was another Quebec-born player who was able to jump into our top 20 at the 16th spot. Scouting Plouffe is a bit difficult at times because he’s playing for the worst team in the Quebec M18 league. However, there's no doubt he’s developed good chemistry with 2025 QMJHL draft-eligible phenom Alexis Joseph as both sit in the top 20 in league scoring. Having to carry the offensive burden for his team hasn’t seemed to bother him one bit, as his high-end playmaking and puck transportation skills are on full display during every viewing.
I really had no choice but to rank Aaron Murphy as high as I possibly could after what was a tremendous Monctonian performance. Ending up in the 19th spot, Murphy is a player who is really growing on me after I came away ambivalent about his game at the QMJHL cup. He’s a really heady defender who times his activation's and pinches superbly. He possesses good defensive awareness and an active stick that helps him break up pass attempts and start the breakout for his team. He also possesses above-average offensive tools that make his potential as an effective 200 foot defender even more apparent.
Coming in at number 20 Xander Boutilier was a player I highly considered for my top 20 in October after a very impressive QMJHL cup performance. I finally got around to watching him play for Mississauga in the GTHL and came away just as excited about his offensive potential. He’s playing on one of the weaker teams in the Ontario area so there are a few superhero moments from him that fall flat, but his powerful skating stride to go along with a quick set of hands make him such a valuable weapon off the rush and difficult to contain one on one for defenders. His shot really pops off his stick and he owns a deceptive release which makes it difficult for opposing goaltenders to track.
Some Personal Favorites
I really wanted to highlight Laval-Montreal defenseman Biagio Jr. Daniele, who comes in at 26th in this months rankings. I have yet to see a defender in this class skate as elegant and effortlessly as Daniele does. He makes shaking opposing forecheckers look so easy, blending an impressive array of crossovers with a beautiful stride that make him such an incredible puck-rusher. At this point in his career he is a little immature physically but I think once he grows we could have a really special player on our hands.
At 30th, Enzo Lottin is finally starting to emerge as the point-producing playmaker we all knew he could be. Lottin isn’t afraid to maneuver into dangerous areas of the ice with the puck on his stick, He’s an inside driven player who isn’t afraid to attack defenders head on in one on one situations. His passing ability also allows him to be a threat along the perimeter where he baits opponents in and uses deception to open up passing lanes for himself.
Our 35th ranked prospect Daniel Walters is a hardworking forward from the Halifax Macs in the Nova Scotia U18 league. In both the QMJHL Cup and the Monctonian I came away very impressed with his style of play and projectability for junior hockey. While his offensive skills may not be as refined as some of his draft-eligible cohorts, his pace of play and compete level are all very high-end attributes. His production comes from going to the dirty areas of the ice and causing turnovers by applying pressure to opposing defenders. I think he does have some room to grow offensively which makes me even more excited of the type of player he can be at the next level.
For detailed scouting and game reports on these 40 QMJHL prospects, you can visit our QMJHL Draft Rankings page.