The Sherbrooke Phoenix made Daniel Audette the first overall pick in the QMJHL draft on Saturday in Quebec City.
The Phoenix, joining the league as an expansion club next season, will look to build around the five-foot-seven, 166-pound centre, whose father, Donald, enjoyed a long career in the NHL.
Audette had 25 goals and 35 assists for 60 points in 39 games with College Esther-Blondin at the Quebec midget AAA level last season and was the clear No. 1 prospect in the draft, according to QMJHL Central Scouting director Pierre Leduc.
“He’s the most talented player in the draft,” Leduc said. “When you want a goal on the power play or at the end of the game, this is the guy you want. He’s the easy choice for No. 1.”
The P.E.I. Rocket took winger Alexis Pepin second overall. The six-foot-two 196-pounder had 22 goals among 40 points in 38 games last season with College Charles-Lemoyne of the Quebec midget AAA league.
“He loves to finish his checks, he’s a good skater and he’s an intense player who likes to be involved on the forecheck,” Leduc said.
The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles followed at No. 3, taking winger Clark Bishop from Newfoundland’s Pennecon Pioneers. He had 18 goals among 38 points in 23 games at the major midget level last season.
“He’s explosive (as a skater) and he loves to hit,” Leduc said. “He can play at both ends of the ice and he has good ability with and without the puck.”
The Gatineau Olympiques traded up to get the fourth overall pick from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, surrendering the fifth and 14th overall picks for the fourth and 18th overall selections. They proceeded to select defenceman Alexandre Carrier from Quebec midget AAA Antoine-Girouard.
Rouyn-Noranda proceeded to trade down again, moving the No. 5 pick to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for picks No. 6 and No. 34. Baie-Comeau rounded out the top five by selecting Loik Leveille from Quebec midget AAA St-Eustache.
The Huskies finally made their pick at sixth overall, selecting 12th-ranked forward Francis Perron from St-Eustache.