Islanders, Rocket goalie among QMJHL award winners

Bill Beacon
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Summesride native Gerard Gallant, coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, holds the Ron-Lapointe Trophy for coach of the year at the QMJHL awards ceremony Wednesday in Montreal. (Canadian Press photo)

MONTREAL — High draft prospect Sean Couturier has been named most valuable player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The Drummondville Voltigeurs centre was handed the Michel Briere Trophy as the league’s best player and added the Mike Bossy Trophy as the top prospect for the NHL draft at the QMJHL’s Golden Pucks gala on Wednesday night.

The six-foot-four Couturier, Canada’s only ”underage” player at the world junior championship in January, had 96 points for a second season in a row, but did it in 10 fewer games than a year ago. He was also plus-55 for the season.

He is ranked second among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting for the draft.

”I think at the start I put too much pressure on myself,” he said of his season. ”My goal was to play on Team Canada and then there was the top prospects game.

”I wanted to participate in those events and my head wasn’t totally with my team all the time, but now that that’s done, things have gone better and better.”

Louis Leblanc, the high-profile first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, got the Paul Dumont Trophy as personality of the year. The Montreal Juniors winger had 26 goals and 32 assists and also played for Canada at the world juniors.

”There was a lot going on, with the world juniors, Canadiens’ camp, a lot of ups and down, but overall I’m satisfied,” the 19-year-old said. ”It’s been a good year for me and I think I’ve learnt a lot.”

Philip-Michael Devos of the Gatineau Olympiques got the Jean Beliveau Trophy for leading the league with 114 points and took the Frank Selke Trophy as most gentlemanly player.

It was a big night for the nationally No. 1-ranked Saint John Sea Dogs, who took home five awards.

Coach Gerard Gallant, the Summerside, P.E.I., native whose team won 58 of 68 regular season games, took the Ron Lapointe Trophy as coach of the year for a second season in a row.

Kinkora, P.E.I., native Mike Kelly got the Maurice Filion Award as top general manager.

Sea Dogs rearguard Simon Despres, yet another who played for Canada at the world juniors, got the Emile (Butch) Bouchard Trophy as top defenceman.

Saint John goalie Jacob DeSerres got the Jacques Plante Trophy for posting the best goals-against average and the team got the Jean Rougeau Trophy for finishing first in the regular season.

”To be honest, I don’t think it means anything,” Gallant said of the awards. ”We focus on team play all year long.

”Guys like (scoring star) Jonathan Huberdeau could have had a lot more points than they had but they play in the team system so they’re not worried about awards. The awards they want are the President’s Cup (as league champions) and a chance to go to the Memorial Cup.”

Charles Hudon of Chicoutimi took the Coupe RDS as rookie of the year and his Sagueneens teammate Nicolas Therrien won the Marcel Robert Trophy as the top academic player.

Gabriel Lemieux of the Shawinigan Cataractes was named humanitarian player of the year for his community work.

Despres and Huberdeau made the first all-star team along with Couturier, Chicoutimi goaltender Christopher Gibson, Shawinigan defenceman Ryan Kavanagh and Quebec Remparts right winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.

The second team has Devos up front with Etienne Brodeur of the Lewiston Maineiacs and Guillaume Asselin of Chicoutimi, with Murray River, P.E.I., native Brandon Gormley of the Moncton Wildcats and Jean-Philippe Mathieu of Drummondville on defence and Evan Mosher of the P.E.I. Rocket in goal.

The all-rookie team had Domenic Graham of Drummondville in goal, Daniel Milan of Moncton and Dominic Poulin of Chicoutimi on defence, and Mirko Hoefflin of Quebec, Hudon and Zach O’Brien of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan up front.

The league also added four to its Hall of Fame: ex-players Vincent Damphousse, Martin Lapointe and Robert Desjardins and Halifax Mooseheads founder Harold MacKay.

Organizations: Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, NHL, North American Team Canada Montreal Canadiens

Geographic location: Canada, MONTREAL, Chicoutimi Summerside Kinkora Saint John Drummondville Shawinigan Murray River Moncton Quebec

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