With the month of December come and gone we’ve decided to kick off the new year by expanding our 2024 QMJHL Draft Rankings to 60 players. There was a ton of hockey to watch in the last month. The CCM Challenge in Chateauguay, Québec hosted some of the best U18 and Draft Eligible talent in Eastern Canada and was imperative in our draft ranking process. The second phase of the QMJHL Cup saw the best 2009-born Québec born players face off against a series of M17 and Prep School All-Star teams, showcasing some high-end talent for both this and next year’s draft. We had a lot of movement towards the top of the rankings, including one new entry into our top 5, due to some standout performances at the aforementioned events.
Our updated and expanded top 60 2024 QMJHL Draft Rankings can be accessed via the 2024 QMJHL Draft Center.
New Names in the Top 10
Although our top four players have remained the same since the end of October, there was finally a break into our top five with the arrival of Lac St Louis Lions center William Yared. I knew very well that he possessed high-end passing ability and vision in the offensive zone, but at the CCM Challenge he took his game to a whole other level. He was playing at a much higher pace than what I had seen previously from him, forechecking hard and beating defenders to loose pucks. He was the Lions most consistent and effective forward throughout and tied for the team lead in points with our 2nd ranked prospect Dylan Rozzi.
Another Lions player who made a big jump into our top 10 is defenseman Alexandre Taillefer who comes in as our 8th ranked prospect. Every game I watch of his he just seems to get better and better. His confidence with the puck has grown immensely since October and he’s been asked to carry the offensive load from the blueline as one of its youngest members. His plus level skating ability allows him to be an effective rush defender and close on opponents quickly. He has won over the trust of the Lions coaching staff as he continues to progress at a rapid pace.
Coming in at number 10 is Jayden Plouffe, who has quickly turned into one of my personal favorites for the 2024 QMJHL Draft. He’s one of the best playmakers in this year’s draft, showing the ability to make quick decisions and execute passes through traffic on both his forehand and backhand. Along with 14-year-old phenom Alexis Joseph, he is driving the bus offensively for the Collège Esther-Blondin Phénix with 30 points in 29 games and is a big reason that they have been able to pull themselves out from the bottom of the league standings.
A New Top Defenseman
In November it was Jackson Batchilder, in December it was Jacob Gouchie, and now come January we have ranked Bishop Kearney Selects defenseman Cameron Chartrand as our highest ranked defensive prospect at #7. This isn’t a slight to Batchilder or Gouchie, who I still have pegged as first-round talents. Rather, Chartrand has just been able to show me the more consistent and projectable style of play in all three zones. In my last few viewings of him he has taking more space that was given to him in the offensive zone which was helping his production immensely. He’s still one of the best breakout passers in the draft and he uses his 6’1 and 185 lbs frame to defend effectively along the perimeter in the offensive zone. Chartrand was also selected to represent Team Canada at the Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, South Korea later this month.
Our highest ranked newcomers are a couple of forwards playing in the Ontario circuit who we just learned will be made available for the QMJHL Draft. Debuting as our 6th ranked prospect we have Quinte Red Devils forward Maddox Dagenais. The 6’1 and 160 lbs forward currently sits third in OMHA U16 scoring with 41 points in 22 games and possesses all the high-end offensive tools you would want to see from a top prospect. He’s a very smooth puck-handler who is able to weave himself in and out of traffic in the offensive and gain access to the middle of the ice due to his skill. Look for him to make some serious noise in the latter half of the season. He has all the offensive potential to be able to crack into our top 3 at the end of the year.
Tristan Venne is another new addition from the Ontario Circuit, who makes his debut in our rankings as the 20th ranked prospect. The 5’8 and 152 lbs Halton Hurricanes forward is a diminutive offensive dynamo who plays the game at a high pace and who can make skilled plays in small areas of the ice. He sits second in OMHA U16 scoring with 43 points in 21 games. Our Ontario regional scout Jordan Malette speaks very highly of him, so I’m sure with a few more viewings under my belt Venne will creep closer to first round territory within our rankings.
Gabriel Anctil is a defenseman who I started off quite cold on, but who’s play at the CCM Challenge ultimately won me over and got himself included as our 29th ranked prospect. He is a physically mature offensive defenseman who likes to join the rush and activate in the offensive zone. He was picking his opportunities to jump into the rush way more intelligently than when I had first seen him, and his shot selection from the point was a lot less forced. Players of his ilk will always have some sort of risk attached to their game, but I’m definitely starting to see more positives than negatives in each new viewing.
For more detailed scouting and game reports on each player in our top 60, visit the QMJHL Draft Rankings page.