Photo: Blainville-Boisbriand Aramada defenseman and Detroit Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet has had a memorable 2012-13 season, likely his final QMJHL season before turning pro (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The QMJHL may not be traditionally viewed as a fertile development ground for defensemen. But recent history has proved the opposite, with the league producing NHL talent such as Florida's Dmitri Kulikov and Pittsburgh's Kris Letang as well as top prospects like Montreal's Nathan Beaulieu and Phoenix's Brandon Gormley.
Photo: Erie Otters phenom forward Connor McDavid has been one of the few bright spots for an Erie club that is in rebuilding mode (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Thoughts accumulated on a two-week trip that took me through eight states and four provinces. Lots of snow and lots of coffee.
Photo: The QMJHL has seen 30 of its players chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft over the past 10 years, including notable alumni Sidney Crosby (L) and Claude Giroux (R) (courtesy of Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
Over the last ten years, 30 players from the QMJHL have been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, with a high water mark of five players in a single year being reached twice.
Photo: Baie-Comeau Drakkar forward Valentin Zykov (#73), shown here playing for Team Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, has been steadily rising up the rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Valentin Zykov might be a Russian playing junior hockey for a Quebec-based team, but the burly right winger proved he belonged on Team Cherry during the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this week.
Photo: Goaltender Spencer Martin (L) led the way early for Team Orr with shutout hockey, while forward Laurent Dauphin (R) earned Player of the Game honors for his performance in Team Orr's win at the 2013 CHL Top Prospects Game (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The final result may not have been what the local fans in Halifax were hoping to see but the 2013 Home Hardware NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game did not disappoint in delivering plenty of skill, speed and physical play. When the last buzzer sounded, Team Orr had beaten Team Cherry by the score of 3-0 in what was the first shutout in the history of the Top Prospects Game.