The Habs and The Quebecois Syndrome


On this St. Jean Baptiste day of 2018, while residents in Quebec and Quebec-born Canadian citizen celebrate our birth province’s holiday, the dust is settling on what was a very uneventful NHL Draft. Aside from a few trades picks for picks, this year’s Draft was abnormally quiet on the trade front, with only one major trade having been completed between the Calgary Flames and the Carolina Hurricanes. Like everyone else, Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin sat there and let his Draft experts, led by Trevor Timmins, work their magic in hope that it pays off in the long run.

Now before anyone thinks that since moving to beautiful British Columbia, I have become an anti-Québécois, let me remind you of a piece I wrote a few years ago, one of my most satisfying article, one that I point out to anglophones who downplay the need to have Quebec-born players on the Canadiens.

The outrage on Twitter was, however, palpable with many residents in Quebec, particularly French speaking, being outraged with the fact that their beloved Habs only managed to select one player from the QMJHL.

True that with all the picks that they had, the Canadiens only managed to select one local player, by calling Samuel Houde‘s name at number 133. But I was curious to find out why it was the case. Were the Canadiens really spitting on players from their own backyard and selecting others at similar talent? If that were the case, those Quebec-born players would have been selected soon after the Habs’ picks, I figured… right?

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Well I did the research and here’s what I discovered:

  • 217 players were selected at the 2018 NHL Draft
  • 22 of them (10%) came from the QMJHL
  • Half of them were born in Quebec
  • Of those 11 selected, 4 were goalies, a position the Habs don’t need
  • And of the 7 remaining, the Habs were able to select one.

So what does that tell you folks? It is telling me that overall, the QMJHL is doing extremely poorly at developing players attracting interest not just for the Montreal Canadiens, but for the other 30 teams! It tells us even more, as off those playing in the Q, more than half (55%) of them are not even Quebec-born players! Yes folks, it means that 0.05% of the players drafted in 2018 (11 out of 217) were born in Quebec. And that’s Bergevin and Timmins’ fault for not selecting them?!?

Oh really? Is that really how fans feel in Quebec? What are Jonathan Drouin, Phillip Danault, Nicolas Deslauriers and Charles Hudon? Chopped liver? That’s four local products, more than we’ve seen on the Habs in a long, long time and considering that the number of them is dropping like flies in the NHL, that’s actually very remarkable. Further, someone tweeted this to me…

It seems like it’s not because the Habs aren’t trying. Under Bergevin, they even invested more in scouting in Quebec and in the QMJHL. The team is building outdoor ice rinks to allow young people to skate and play hockey! To borrow an expression from François Gagnon, “Simonak”, what more do you want them to do?

So for those who can differentiate the forest from the trees, let’s take a bit of a break, and hope that Bergevin can pull the trigger on a trade or two to solidify his formation, mostly at the centre position and even find a defense partner for Shea Weber. We’re less than a week away from free agency. Go Habs Go!

9 thoughts on “The Habs and The Quebecois Syndrome

  1. Very good article… I’m an Italo-canadian-québécois born in quebec, i saw the Habs win 12 stanley cups. Back then the team was loaded with quebec born players but also more Canadian born players and that was the strength of the sainte-flanelle. But nowadays good Quebec born players are outclassed by international players. So my point is Do not blame the Habs to overlook quebec hockey players…
    Unfortunately that’s the true reality on badly managed Quebec hockey associations… One day maybe who knows…

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