FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: #14 D’Artagnan Joly

The later rounds of the draft are, obviously, not going to be as flush with NHL talent as the first round, but that doesn’t mean talent can’t be found. Often times, it hides in players who have flaws, sometimes superficial (i.e. height) but usually genuine. The job of the scouting team is to identify which of these players can actually fix their issues and blossom into a potential pro.

D’Artganan Joly has been one of those incomplete packages that has taken a serious stride to looking much closer to being a professional than an average sixth round pick should. The 6’3″, 181 pound right-shooting right winger put up a strong yet quiet season, coming in at #14 this year after being unranked the season before.

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How did we get here?

The youngest of seven brothers, two of whom play pro hockey, Joly was a rising star in the Gatineau hockey community. At age 15, he played for the local AAA L’Intrepide, being the second youngest regular player on that team. His impressive performances in a league typically dominated by older players led to him being drafted by the Gatineau Olympiques in the second round of the QMJHL draft.

However, Joly only played three games for his hometown team before being dealt to Baie-Comeau Drakkar. A bare bones Drakkar team with nothing to lose threw Joly into the deep end, giving him serious QMJHL action having just arrived from AAA. Accordingly, he only picked up eight points in his 35 games with the club.

His second season was more successful. Joly scored 48 points in 66 games, not numbers that really jump off the page, but good enough for third in Drakkar scoring. The Flames scooped him up with their sixth round pick that year, 171st overall.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

Joly finished 12th this year among QMJHL forwards in points per game, and ninth in primary points per game. If you only look at U19 players, he jumps to fourth in both categories.

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Games played Goals Assists Points
55 23 45 68

One major impact on his numbers came from a back injury, which delayed his season debut until mid October. With no offseason or preseason, he started a bit slow on his return, eventually building himself up to be one of Baie-Comeau’s main offensive weapons. He led the team in points and primary points per game, both at 5v5 and all situations.

Games played Points Primary points 5v5 points 5v5 primary points
55 68 56 40 35

For a deeper look, revisit this write-up.

Those in the know

Willy Palov, QMJHL writer for The Chronicle Herald, offers his assessment on Joly’s 2017-18 and what we could expect in 2018-19:

Joly showed excellent progress in 2017-18. He assumed a bigger role on his team and was much more assertive in all areas. His production improved significantly and he is poised for an ever better year in 2018-19. He has good size and a solid skill base so he should feel even more comfortable in a leadership situation for an emerging team in Baie-Comeau.

And here’s director of Flames development Ray Edwards on the importance of this offseason and where Joly is headed in the future:

Last year when we drafted him he had a back injury, so he really wasn’t able to do anything for the first three or four months after we drafted him. So then he starts the season last year way behind the eight-ball. He wasn’t able to train, even during the season last year he was just sort of maintaining, he wasn’t able to make gains. This offseason has been huge for him… This is really the first full summer of really being able to dig in with D’Artagnan.

On the horizon

Joly will once again take a leading role on Baie-Comeau. The Drakkar are a pretty young team that will only lose two skaters due to age eligibility, so Joly is going to be the one to step up. With such a serious jump in production from his draft year to his draft +1 year, it’s fair to expect another major leap in his draft +2 season. To repeat Edwards’ point, he will actually have an offseason of training and should have a more seamless transition into this season versus last season.

Although still eligible for Canada at the World Juniors, Joly’s a major darkhorse to suit up. Given that he’s never played for Team Canada and he’s not on the summer camp roster, he’s likely not in the discussion come November unless he’s blowing the doors down in the Q. Hopefully, he can force their hand.

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