QMJHL experts select the cream of the crop - Metro US

QMJHL experts select the cream of the crop

Metro Halifax has determined the best and worst of the QMJHL’s Atlantic Division in 36 categories, and will release 12 categories per day in a three-part series this week.

Today is our first instalment. We polled the hockey operations staffs for all six teams in the division to determine the results, awarding three points to category winners and one point to runners-up.

To eliminate bias, participants polled were not permitted to vote for players on their own teams.

Best Player

Chris Culligan, Cape Breton

The Screaming Eagles’ captain and No. 1 centre is, simply put, Mr. Everything. He won an unprecedented seven categories in this poll and was runner-up in three.

RUNNER-UP (tie): Nicola Riopel and Olivier Roy.

Best Stickhandler

Chris Culligan, Cape Breton

Culligan is nifty with the puck and makes defenders look foolish.

RUNNER-UP: Michael Kirkpatrick (Saint John).

Smartest Player

Chris Culligan, Cape Breton

Always in the right place at the right time in all three zones.

RUNNER-UP (tie): Spencer Jezegou (Bathurst) and Matt Eagles (Moncton).

Best Playmaker

Chris Culligan, Cape Breton

Big reason why three teammates will finish with more than 30 goals apiece.

RUNNER-UP (tie): Benjamin Casavant (P.E.I.) and Joel Champagne (P.E.I.).

Best Over-Age Player

Chris Culligan, Cape Breton

Already voted best player, so logic dictates a win here.

RUNNER-UP (tie): Robert Slaney (Cape Breton).

Hardest Shot

Chris Doyle, P.E.I.

Doyle, a goal-scoring forward, is a New York Rangers draft pick who already has an NHL-calibre shot.

RUNNER-UP: David Stich (Saint John).

Fastest Skater

Simon Olsson, P.E.I.

The 5-foot-7 winger came over from Sweden this season and has made a smooth adjustment with his speed.

Four-way tie.

Best Import

David Stich, Saint John

The Czech Republic native is the Sea Dogs’ captain and a hard-shooting two-way presence on the blue line.

RUNNER-UP: Jan Stransky (Halifax).

Best Goaltender

Nicola Riopel, Moncton

He has the league’s best goals-against and save percentage and the most wins. That pretty much says it all.

RUNNER-UP: Olivier Roy (Cape Breton).

Best on Power Play

Nick MacNeil, Cape Breton

The Creignish native is a big, strong force along the wall and has great hands in front of the net.

RUNNER-UP: Chris Culligan (Cape Breton).

Best NHL potential

Simon Despres, Saint John

The swift-skating blue-liner is a first-round prospect for June’s NHL draft and could crack the top 15.

RUNNER-UP: Brandon Gormley (Moncton).

Best Rookie

Brandon Gormley, Moncton

At age 16, Gormley is already logging plenty of ice time on one of the league’s stingiest defensive teams.

RUNNER-UP: Ben Duffy (P.E.I.).

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