2012 v. 2013
Much of the excitement for the game will be tied up in the head-to-head matchup of two of the brightest stars in the QMJHL. Mikhail Grigorenko and Nathan MacKinnon have a good chance at being the first overall picks in the NHL draft for the next two years respectively.
The two Q rookies are both in the top ten in league scoring and are virutally neck-and-neck with one another. Grigorenko is sitting in 6th in scoring with 46 points while MacKinnon is right behind him in 8th with 43 points. The Remparts’ Russian Rookie (x5 XP for alliteration) has played three more games than MacKinnon the Maritime Moose (I’m pushing it I know), making their points per game virtually the same:
Grigorenko – 1.53 ppg
MacKinnon – 1.59 ppg
Grigorenko was just named QMJHL 2nd Star of the month for November, while MacKinnon was just named the 1st Star of the week on Monday. The timing of MacKinnon’s honour held a certain level of irony as it was the same day that Hockey Canada announced the roster for the World Junior Selection Camp and chose not to invite the 16-year-old phenom. Of course that is despite the fact that only one other eligible player selected to the camp had more points in the Q. But let’s not stir that pot again.
In the previous macthups of the two, both super rooks have played significant roles. In the October 22nd game in Halifax, MacKinnon was in on every Moosehead scoring play, recording 1 goal and 3 assists, while Grigo had 1+1 in the 4-3 Moose win.
Grigorenko’s Remparts got their revenge at home in a 6-1 romp over Halifax on November 19th. The Russian posted another 1+1 in that game, while Nathan MacKinnon assisted on the only Halifax goal.
Quebec has been listed in the CHL National Rankings for much of the season. They have climbed as high as first overall and currently sit fourth in the country. The closest Halifax has come to being ranked in the Top 10 is an Honourable Mention a couple times following a strong 9-1 in October.
In actual OMJHL rstanding the difference appears much less. Quebec sits second overall behind the Saint John Sea Dogs, and Halifax is sixth, but holds the thrid best winning percentage in the league. To get over the hump, Halifax will have to start winning more of the games against top end opponents the Remparts.
The Mooseheads will have to avoid doing what I have done and look past the Gatineau Olympiques who are in town Friday night. On the other hand, I would imagine some from the Remparts may be in attendance as they are likely already in town after a dominating 7-1 performance over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Thursday.
If you want to see two of the best young hockey players on the planet, come on out to the Metro Centre Saturday night. There’s also a lot of great young talent I didn’t get to in this post.