Nathan Larose knows what it’s like to play with a young team.
The 20-year-old was part of the Saint John Sea Dogs organization the year after the New Brunswick club captured the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President Cup title in 2017.
After emptying the tank for the playoff run, the Sea Dogs had a young team and struggled to find the win column during the 2017-18 season, posting only 14 victories and an 18th-place finish.
The following year was no better for Saint John. The team recorded 13 victories and finished in 17th place, missing the playoffs for the second-straight season.
Fortunately for Larose, he would only spend the first half of the season with the Sea Dogs before being traded to the Cape Breton Eagles, a team in which he’s spent the past two-and-a-half seasons with.
• Hometown: Mirabel, Que.
• Age: 20
• Position: Defence
• Team: Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL)
• Height: 6’2”
• Weight: 194
• QMJHL Draft: Selected in the second-round, No. 30 overall, by Chicoutimi in 2016
• NHL Draft: Undrafted
Although he always knew he had an offensive flair, Larose admitted it was tough putting up points with young teams, but felt he hit his mark last season with 17 goals and 37 points in 51 games.
“It was pretty good,” said Larose. “My teammates were good with some nice passes and some of the defence partners I had, so I owe a lot of my offensive success to them – I can’t always score on my side, so they were a big part of it.”
Larose is continuing to put up points in his final season. In six games this year, the defenceman has four goals and six points along with four penalty minutes.
But, as an overage player, Larose knows his responsibilities are more than just putting up numbers, but also helping guide a young Eagles team through the 2020-21 season.
“As a 20-year-old, I think you have to show the guys the ropes a little bit and I think the leadership team and older guys are doing a pretty good job managing it,” said Larose.
“I think we have a lot of hard-working guys who can put the puck in the net – but helping the younger guys adjust to the league and get their feet wet is key for me this year.”
• 2013-14 – Nord Selects (Bantam ‘AA’) – Games Played: 25 – Goals: 2 – Assists: 2 – Points: 4 – PIM: 10
• 2014-15 – Nord Selects (Bantam ‘AA’) – Games Played: 34 – Goals: 10 – Assists: 4 – Points: 14 – PIM: 22
• 2015-16 – Saint-Eustache Vikings (Midget ‘AAA’) – Games Played: 46 – Goals: 4 – Assists: 19 – Points: 23 – PIM: 24
• 2016-17 - Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL) – Games Played: 7 – Goals: 0 – Assists: 1 – Points: 1 – PIM: 2
• 2017-18 – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) – Games Played: 64 – Goals: 5 – Assists: 9 – Points: 14 – PIM: 31
• 2018-19 – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) – Games Played: 26 – Goals: 2 – Assists: 6 – Points: 8 – PIM: 13
• 2018-19 – Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL) – Games Played: 27 – Goals: 4 – Assists: 7 – Points: 11 – PIM: 16
• 2019-20 – Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL) – Games Played: 51 – Goals: 17 – Assists: 20 – Points: 37 – PIM: 30
• 2020-21 – Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL) – Games Played: 6 – Goals: 4 – Assists: 2 – Points: 6 – PIM: 4
Four of the team’s seven defencemen are 17 years old or younger including veterans Jérémy Langlois and Jacob Squires as well as rookies Zach Welsh and François-James Buteau.
“When I was in their position I always looked up to the older guys and watched what they were doing and seeing how they managed themselves,” said Larose.
“It’s a big part of being a veteran on any team, showing the younger guys what it takes to play and be part of the team – I think it’s nice to know that I have an influence on their development.”
Last week, Larose and the Eagles were in Bathurst to play the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Along with losing both games, the club also had their first opportunity to play former Eagle defenceman Adam McCormick, who was traded to the Titan during the offseason.
“Seeing him on the opposite bench was pretty weird for sure,” laughed Larose, who played a season-and-a-half with the now 20-year-old McCormick. “He was a big part of last year’s team, it felt different for sure.”
Cape Breton is on the ice Saturday when they host the second of a two-game weekend series with their provincial rival Halifax Mooseheads at Centre 200 in Sydney. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. The Eagles and Mooseheads opened the series Friday night, however, the score result was not available at press time.
“We’ve been working pretty hard in practice the last few days and I think we’re ready to win some games and show Halifax what we’re made of,” said Larose.
CAPE BRETON EAGLES:
• Record: 2-4-0-0 - 4 Points (As of Oct. 23)
• Standings: Fifth in the Maritimes Division and 12th overall in the QMJHL (As of Oct. 23)
• Power Play Percentage: 19.1 (10th in the 'Q')
• Penalty Kill Percentage: 87.0 (4th in the 'Q')
• Top Scorers: Shawn Element (3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points), Jarrett Baker (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points), and Liam Kidney (4 goals, 2 assists, 6 points)
• NHL Property: Ryan Francis (Calgary)
• Record: 2-3-1-0 - 5 Points (As of Oct. 23)
• Standings: Third in the Maritime Dvision and 8th overall in the QMJHL (As of Oct. 23)
• Power Play Percentage: 13.0 (15th in the 'Q')
• Penalty Kill Percentage: 76.5 (9th in the 'Q')
• Top Scorers: Zachary L'Heureux (3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points), Markus Vidicek (3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points), and Elliot Desnoyers (2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points)
• NHL Property: Elliot Desnoyers (Philadelphia) and Justin Barron (Colorado)
- Cape Breton Eagles’ Langlois hopes to produce more offense in his second season in the QMJHL
- Former Cape Breton Eagles goaltender Lagace signs with Pittsburgh Penguins
- Cape Breton Eagles drop pair of weekend games to Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Bathurst
- Acadie-Bathurst Titan use three-goal third period to beat Cape Breton Eagles Friday