Another hockey domino toppled on Monday, as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League officially threw in the towel on the 2019-20 regular season. The Western Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League were expected to follow suit later in the week.
The announcement spells the end of the (regular) season for Calgary Flames top prospects Jakob Pelletier and Dmitry Zavgorodniy.
The #QMJHL announces that all the remaining games of the 2019-20 schedule have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— QMJHL (@QMJHL) March 17, 2020
The QMJHL’s release didn’t mention the status of the playoffs, but you have to imagine that they’re tenuous and contingent on the world become less overrun by coronavirus. If there are playoffs, the seeding would be based on points percentage.
Regardless, the regular season is over for a pair of the Flames’ most interesting offensive prospects.
Pelletier, 19, was the Flames’ first round selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Moncton Wildcats winger had a pretty eventful season. He had 32 goals and 82 points in 57 games, good for 10th in the Q. He was in the mix for a spot on Team Canada at the World Juniors, but suffered a concussion in the final game before the selection camp and couldn’t go. His offensive production slowed somewhat after his return, though that was partially due to some trade deadline maneuvering by Moncton to make them a less top-heavy team. Despite his uneven year, his NHLE jumped from 31.89 to 33.50 and he remained a savvy all-situations player (and team captain) for the Wildcats. His NHL contract slides if he’s not playing in the NHL in 2020-21.
Zavgorodniy, 19, was the Flames’ seventh round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Rimouski Oceanic winger got the plum gig of playing with Alexis Lafreniere for much of the season and consequently had great numbers despite missing several weeks with a collarbone injury. He had 29 goals and 67 points in 40 games, ranking 23rd in the Q in points. His NHLE took a big jump, going from 22.24 last season to 39.01 this year. The big question: hey, what can he do away from Lafreniere? He’ll be 20 next season and he’s signed to an entry level contract that won’t slide even if he’s back in junior as an overager, so he’ll be playing pro hockey next season – probably in Stockton. He’s got nothing left to accomplish in junior hockey.
We’ll have updates on whether or not the QMJHL will have playoff hockey when they become available.