NHL Draft: Nathan Gaucher and Maveric Lamoureux selected 22nd and 29th

MONTREAL — Maveric Lamoureux wiped 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 welcome him into the family with the 29me draft pick.

“My legs wanted to come loose when I heard my name,” said the likeable Drummondville Voltigeurs defenseman. At first I really didn’t notice. There I understood that it was me, everyone started screaming. That’s when I realized it was really happening. It is my childhood dream come true. »

Colleague Stéphane Leroux reported that last May, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong traveled alone to Boisbriand to watch Lamoureux during an Armada-Voltigeurs series game.

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

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

In numerous interviews he has 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 selected in the third round in 2012. Armstrong, who was the Blues’ director of amateur scouting at the time, drew the parallel himself Thursday.

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

Lamoureux won his bid to be the QMJHL first baseman drafted in 2022. Gatineau Olympiques’ Tristan Luneau and Noah Warren were seen as the ones who could potentially steal this distinction but will have to return to the Center Bell stands on Friday. to find out your next destination.

Lamoureux’s draft may not be finished yet. His good childhood friend, Sudbury Wolves forward David Goyette, is also available after being passed over in the first round. “I don’t know what the next steps are, but if I can, I’ll surely cheer him up again,” planned the nice guy.

Left-handed the first Quebecer

Nathan Gaucher began to feel the effects of the jitters midway through the first round. And the closer the round of the Anaheim Ducks got, the more intense his heart beat.

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

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

The tall redhead received warm applause as he walked over to shake Commissioner Gary Bettman’s hand. “The supporters who shouted, who applauded, you don’t realize it. You say to yourself, ‘Okay, is this screaming for me?’ “, He looked back, incredulous.

The Ducks are nearing the end of a rebuilding cycle that should start showing results soon. The 2022 draft was the fourth in a row that they owned a top-10 pick.

Thus, Gaucher joins one of the deepest pools of hopefuls on the Bettman circuit. His name is added to that of forwards such as 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 CEO Pat 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‘”, predicted the great center back of 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.”in the end‘. »

“I am extremely happy”

“My legs were going to come loose! »

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