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Habs CHL prospect update: Simon Bourque headed to QMJHL Final

Bourque returns to the finals while Michael McNiven is eliminated.

Saint John Sea Dogs / QMJHL

The finals are set across all three CHL leagues, and the Montreal Canadiens will have only one representative vying for a championship. Simon Bourque and the dominant Saint John Sea Dogs are headed to the QMJHL Final against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Final

Saint John Sea Dogs vs. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada

To get to the finals the Sea Dogs had to go through the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, which they accomplished in six games. The two losses by the Sea Dogs in this series were the only two of their playoff run so far, as the team had swept their way past their first two opponents in commanding fashion.

Bourque was the executioner in the first two rounds, scoring the series-winning goal both times, despite a preference to focus on defending his end of the ice. He still managed to score a goal in the semifinal series, but rather than the final goal it was the first goal in the first game. On a breakaway.

The Armada showed tremendous fortitude in their semifinal matchup, defeating the undefeated Charlottetown Islanders in five games, losing only the first match of the series to advance to the finals. Undrafted forward Alex Barré-Boulet is leading the way for the Armada with 29 points in 16 games, scoring at practically a goal-per-game rate. Pierre-Luc Dubois has also provided solid offence for the Armada, and if the Sea Dogs are to win the Championship they will have to be very cautious of this offensive threat.

This will be Bourque’s second trip to the QMJHL Final, having won with the Rimouski Océanic in 2015.

End of the road for the Owen Sound Attack

Meanwhile Michael McNiven and Petrus Palmu saw their playoff run come to a crashing halt at the hands of Dylan Strome and the mighty Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League Semifinals.

Despite McNiven’s tremendous performance for the Attack in the playoffs, he was unable to contain the Otter offence.

Cumulative stats per series show struggle against the Otters in the third round
Andrew Zadarnowski

Palmu was held scoreless for the most part in this series, with the exception of the third game where he scored two goals and added an assist. His three-point outburst in that game was his final flurry before getting shut down completely by the Otters for the remainder of the series.

Palmu remains draft eligible for one more season (we had previously erroneously said that he was a free agent), and should he not be drafted, do not be surprised to see him back at the Canadiens Development Camp in July. He remains an intriguing prospect whose skill might just be enough to overcome a lack of size.

Memorial Cup quickly approaching

The Memorial Cup kicks off on May 19 in Windsor, where Mikhail Sergachev, Jeremiah Addison, and the Spitfires are patiently waiting to see who their opponents will be.

If one were to assume that the favourites of each final were to advance, then the rest of the Memorial Cup field would include the Saint John Sea Dogs, the Erie Otters, and the Regina Pats. The latter is probably the most uncertain at this point as the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Pats opponent in the WHL Final, have hit another gear in the playoffs and should offer a proper challenge.

Listen to Andrew weekly on TSN 690 Radio Sundays at 8:05am on Habs Breakfast, part of Weekend Game Plan.