Team: Victoriaville Tigers (QMJHL)
Year GP G A PTS PIM +/-
2016-2017 64 22 29 51 88 -7
Now we get into the meat of the Predators’ biggest need this offseason: depth on the wing. Maxime Comtois of the Victoriaville Tigres is pegged to go between picks 20-31. That is a bit of wiggle room, but his up-and-down season has many wondering how big of a question mark he is.
Comtois has the talent to be a top-15 pick. However, many scouts were expecting him to improve this year — something he did not follow through on — thus his draft stock took a hit. He might be a victim of his own fantastic season the year before. He does come with some great experience having played for Canada twice at the Under 18 World championship.
At 6-foot-2, he has great size for a winger. He is a good skater who has a long, powerful stride. Strong puck-handling skills and his ability to change speeds rather quickly are the foundations of his skillset. Comtois has good ice-vision and is a strong two-way forward. He can be an effective scorer, putting up back-to-back 20-goal seasons his last two years in junior hockey.
The knock on Comtois is many scouts question whether he is a top-six forward, but more suited as a third-line winger. He has developed a reputation as a “flash-in-the-pan” player. Investing a first-round draft pick in Comtois might be risky, especially if more talented wingers fall to Nashville’s pick. However, prior to this season he was drawing comparison’s to Rick Nash.
He might be worth taking a chance on, given his strong defensive abilities. If he gets proper coaching and is afforded the time to hone in on his offense, he could pan out.
What they’re saying about Comtois:
“North south type skater with acceptable speed once he gets going. Looks like a middle six complimentary type with power winger. Needs to show more consistency with and without the puck and improve 1st couple steps and agility” – Chris Mooring, ISS Scout
“His play has picked up since Pascal Laberge returned, but his scoring is still off. Still, scouts see a lot of potential here.” – Jeff Marek, Sportsnet
“Comtois is a tough customer and is always in the face of opponents, either with his tough agitating playing style or while scoring goals. He can beat goaltenders with his hard wrister and good shot release and is very effective around the net. ” – Dennis Schellenberg, Hockey Prospectus
“Comtois has trended down this season after entering his draft year as a potential top-five pick. I’m left wanting for the “wow” in his game. He’s steady, and there are pro attributes in his skill set, but he isn’t going to take over a shift. For a guy standing at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, he’s a very good skater with an easy burst out of his stride. He competes for pucks, is good defensively and can get to the tough areas. There is certainly skill in his game, but it’s not of the high-end variety. He can make the odd play using his hands to create space, but he gets more chances with his speed and grit. That’s useful but not the type of player on whom a team is going to use a top-five pick. I keep him ranked this high due to his track record and belief in his tools, but I’d like to see more production.” – Corey Pronman, ESPN
“Comtois is highly skilled, but highly competitive; competitive in a sense that he plays with a little bit of an edge. So, you have to be wary of him because he can go out there and be a scoring threat, but you also need to keep your head up when playing for the puck.” – Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting
NHL comparison: Austin Watson
Draft projection: Late first, early second