This past season, the Val D’Ors Foreurs were a QMJHL force. They finished 4th in the league with 94 points behind one of the best lines in junior hockey. Their top line, consisting of Anthony Mantha, Louick Marcotte, and Samuel Henley was a force last season. Mantha earned 120 points (1st in QMJHL) in 57 games, Marcotte earned 100 points (5th in QMJHL) in 67 games, and Henley earned 69 points in 51 games.
Unfortunately for Val D’Ors, they will likely lose all three players next year. I had this to say about the situation back in early July:
"Mantha is a 2013 first round pick who will likely be with the Detroit Red Wings next season. Marcotte is a 19 year old, undrafted player who has one year of junior eligibility left. Henley is 20 years old and played his final junior season this past year."
Since that writing, Marcotte has been invited to the Philadelphia Flyers training camp and will likely not return to juniors. With their potent line gone, they will look to new players to fill the void.
Enter Nicolas Aube-Kubel. The 48th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft had sheltered ice time last season, but still managed to put up 53 points in 65 games. He was the highest scoring forward outside of the top line and will almost certainly inherit a top line position next season.
Aube-Kubel stands only 5″11′, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in skill. In four QMJHL preseason games he has seven points, including six goals. His new centerman, Anthony Beauregard, seems to be benefiting from the partnership as well, earning a goal and seven assists through those four games.
Not only will Aube-Kubel be a year older and stronger, but his increased ice time will do wonders for his development. If Val D’Ors wants to repeat their magnificent season from a year ago, they will need youngsters like Nicolas Aube-Kubel to step up.