Lamoureux in Arizona: the vision of Larry Pleau

MONTREAL — Maveric Lamoureux wiped away tears from his cheeks as he covered the distance to the leaders of the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. They had concluded a transaction with the Edmonton Oilers in order to be able to welcome him into the family with the 29e draft pick.

“My legs wanted to let go when I heard my name,” said the sympathetic Drummondville Voltigeurs defender. At first I didn’t really realize it. There I understood that it was me, everyone started to shout. That’s when I realized it was happening for real. It’s my childhood dream come true. »

Colleague Stéphane Leroux reported that last May, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong traveled alone to Boisbriand to observe Lamoureux during a game in the series between the Armada and the Voltigeurs.

At the end of an evening where he had also selected forwards Logan Cooley (3e) and Morgan Geekie (11e), Armstrong credited the discovery to Larry Pleau, a former St. Louis Blues general manager who now serves as an advisor to the Coyotes.

“Larry is a long-time mentor. He saw Lamoureux and he loved it, said the DG. [Maveric] is a big player, his game can be inconsistent, but Larry and our Quebec scouts kept talking about it and pushing him. He had good results at the Combine and he is a guy who intrigues us. But it’s a project, he will need some time to put all the pieces in place. »

In numerous interviews he’s given in recent months, Lamoureux (6’7″, 199 lbs) has compared himself to St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, a 6’6″ Wall who was drafted in the third round in 2012. Armstrong, who was the Blues’ director of amateur scouting at the time, drew the parallel himself on Thursday.

“He’s a smart kid,” he replied, smirking, when told that his new prospect agreed with him.

Lamoureux won his bet to be the first QMJHL guard selected in 2022. Tristan Luneau and Noah Warren, of the Gatineau Olympiques, were seen as those who could potentially steal this distinction, but they will have to return to the stands of the Center Bell Friday to find out their next destination.

Lamoureux’s draft may not be over yet. His good childhood friend, Sudbury Wolves forward David Goyette, is also still available after being passed over in the first round. “I don’t know what the next steps are, but if I can, I’m sure I’ll come back to encourage him,” planned the friendly guy.

Left-handed the first Quebecer

Nathan Gaucher began to feel the effects of nervousness midway through the second round. And the closer the Anaheim Ducks round approached, the more his heart beat with intensity.

His little finger told him he could be the California squad man. He had had three meetings with his leaders and “we got along really well in the interviews. So yes, I was a little more stressed about the Anaheim choices, ”admitted the first Quebecer to hear his name over the Bell Center speakers on Thursday.

Gaucher, who counted on an entourage of sixty people in the stands, will have avoided unpleasant surprises. NHL Central Scouting ranked him 16the ranked among the top North American prospects and his exit was scheduled for the end of the first round. His name finally came out of the hat at 22e rank.

The tall redhead received a warm applause as he walked over to shake hands with commissioner Gary Bettman. “The supporters who were shouting, who were clapping, you don’t realize it. You say to yourself: ‘Okay, are these cries for me?’ “, he saw again, incredulous.

The Ducks are coming to the end of a rebuilding cycle that should start to show results soon. The 2022 draft was the fourth straight in which they owned a top-10 pick.

Gaucher therefore joins one of the deepest pools of hopefuls on the Bettman circuit. His name joins those of forwards like Isac Lundestrom, Trevor Zegras, Jacob Perreault and Mason McTavish. Quebecers Benoît-Olivier Groulx and Maxime Comtois are also part of the project inherited by the new general manager Par Verbeek.

“They have a lot of talented players, skills, so I think I can complement that with my physical strength, my style of play and my work ethic. I think I’ll be a good ‘fit‘”, anticipated the big center player from the Quebec Remparts, who was recognized as one of the best defensive forwards in the QMJHL last season.

“They have a very good future and I find that exciting.”at the end‘. »

“I am extremely happy”

“The legs were going to let go! »

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