If you’ve been watching the Flyers’ prospects playing in the CHL closely, this may be a name that sounds familiar. L’Heureux spent this season with Halifax of the QMJHL, where he was teammates with the Flyers’ own Eliot Desnoyers. And while Desnoyers was putting up his own torrid scoring pace, L’Heureux was right behind him, coming in second on the team in scoring (and tied for eighth in goals scored in the whole of the QMJHL). There was a lot to like about his season, his own impacts on that team turning a lot of heads.
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 23: Zachary L’Heureux
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Stats: 19 G, 20 A in 33 GP
No. 30 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
No. 19 by Dobber Prospects
No. 28 by FC Hockey
No. 40 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
What pops most immediately about L’Heureux, as you may have noticed from his stat line, is his offensive game. He’s got a real nose for scoring goals—he has a quick and accurate wrist shot that gives goalies a lot of trouble, even from a distance, but his snapshot and one timers are just as effective, and he also shows a real willingness to get to the front of the net to tip shots and pick up rebounds for more dangerous chances. There’s just so much working there, it’s a really exciting toolkit.
But L’Heureux isn’t only a pure scorer, as he’s shown some strength as a playmaker, as well. He’s a strong puck carrier, and can be quite effective moving the puck through the neutral zone in transition. He can also execute accurate short passes to teammates quickly to set up chances. He forechecks very well, playing an aggressive, heavy game there, and is quite effective at putting on pressure and forcing turnovers.
His skating is an extra asset to his game. He isn’t a positively stellar skater, or an absolute burner, but his stride is powerful and he’s strong on his skates, which makes him very good at fighting his way through pressure and traffic. Combine that with good edgework and a the ability to make quick cuts, and that makes him a tough player to get off of the puck once he has possession.
His defensive game is still developing, but he’s already earned the trust of his coaches in Halifax, having already earned penalty kill duties. His heavy, physical game and tight forechecking help him here as well, and his defensive reads are generally good, as well as his positioning, so he’s quite effective in cutting off lanes, and even forcing more turnovers to get a breakout started and possession moving the other way.
What’s not to like?
There are a couple of smaller, more technical areas we could point to (continuing to develop his skating stride as speed, as well as cleaning up some of his passing, for example), but the big thing here is discipline. L’Heuruex put up 47 penalty minutes in his 33 games played, and was suspended four times this season, including once for spitting on another player. The physical edge that he’s able to bring to his game can make him quite effective, there are concerns about his ability to play within the lines and not make himself a penalty liability. If he wants to find success at the professional level, he’s going to have to learn to control his temper.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
We’ve made note of this several times as we’ve worked through these draft profiles, but it bears repeating that the Flyers are pretty flush with wingers in their system. This doesn't mean that they should avoid drafting any, but it’s not a position of need for them. That makes the fit for a player like L’Heureux a little trickier, but his skill, pace, and tenacity would certainly be a boost for them, that much is certain.
Also, you know, if you’re in the camp that believes that the Flyers need to get tougher at all costs... this would certainly be a pick that addresses that.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
As has been the case through much of this back half of the first round group, there really isn’t a whole lot of consensus on where L’Heaurux will be taken, but it does look like he’ll be on the board when the Flyers are set to pick at 13th, and should still be on the board into the 20s, if they wanted to move back (this would probably be a better play, if they decide L’Heureux is their guy).
We’ll also make one addition to the poll:
Simon Robertsson — LW/RW, Skellefteå AIK (SHL)
Robertsson is a play-driving, versatile winger with a standout wrist shot, who pushes tempo through neutral ice with a compact stride. He makes a lot of smart, aggressive plays inside the offensive zone, and can process the game at speed. When he gets the puck, he’s looking to take it at defenders and attack the inside. But there’s also variety to his game and when the play to the middle isn’t there, he has demonstrated a knack for being unpredictable, so there is a creative flair to his game. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Who should be 24th on the draft board?
This poll is closed
2021 BSH Community Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell - 21/22
- Kent Johnson — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Aatu Räty — C, Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå (SHL)
- Mason McTavish — C, EHC Olten (SL)
- Cole Sillinger — C/LW, Sioux (USHL)
- Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Fabian Lysell — LW/RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Carson Lambos — D, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
- Matthew Coronato — F, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
- Oskar Olausson — LW/RW, HV71 (SHL)
- Brennan Othmann — LW, EHC Olten (SL)
- Logan Stankoven — C/W, Kamloops (WHL)
- Zachary L’Heureux — LW, Halifax (QMJHL)