Three-Rivers — The Patriots have had their lesson.
Forced to compete in his last games with the defenders to attack, due to an epidemic of injuries, Marc-Étienne Hubert has decided that his team must focus on more depth when the season 2018-19 will start.
The driver has already enlisted six recruits, even if only two veterans will not be back next year. This number could double as the Patriots await news of the other five players who finish training this year in the QMJHL. “We realized how important it is, the depth. Of course, when everyone is healthy, there are choices to make. But this is not necessarily negative, it installs a healthy competition in the dressing room,” explained Hubert.
Samuel Blier (Cataracts), Mathieu Boucher (Huskies) and Simon Chevrier (Drakkar) have made the commitment to join the Patriots next year. Samuel Hould, Maxime Chagnon and Vincent Chapleau, who lined up in the junior AAA, to complement the new vintage. And they are not there by default, ensures Hubert.
“These players coming from the junior AAA will help us. Hould is a local product and after having been walked around to the attack and defence in major junior, he made the decision to apply to university this year and play in the junior AAA in defence, where he has enjoyed a dream year. It is a natural association in his case. Chapleau, for its part, has been one of the most dominant players to plan offensive of recent years in this circuit. Finally, Chagnon, a good friend of Chapleau, is known as an igniter, a guy against whom this is not fun to play! These are players who were being wooed by other teams, we are very happy that they have chosen to come to us.”
Hubert crosses fingers that Mathieu Nadeau (Océanic), Matthew Boucher (the Ramparts), Morgan Adams-Moisan (Voltigeurs), Pascal Aquin (Islanders) and James Phelan (the Wildcats) will take the same decision in the coming weeks, who are currently assessing their options. “These are players that we hold in high esteem, with whom we had discussions. It is necessary to observe their approach.”
Of the lot, the marriage, the more natural would be with Adams-Moisan, a Latuquois who played his midget AAA Trois-Rivières, and then that evolved with the Armada and the Voltigeurs during her internship QMJHL.
“He has many friends within the team, he is familiar with our program, and we also, it is known. He has just experienced a big season, we know that it is not bad courted. Normal that he wants to take his time before deciding. All I can tell you, is that we really hope he will choose our program to continue to flourish as a player. We have placed players in the american League, in beautiful markets in Europe in recent years. At the same time, we are very competitive. It has been proved that it helped our players to continue their progress.”
Excluding those undecided, Hubert already has 15 forwards, 10 defenders and three goalies under contract for next season. “This is not a problem. If these players are willing to come, we will make room for them.”