First Round Targets: Anthony Beauvillier

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Up next in our look at the Leafs’ potential options late in the first round we’re going to the Q, with Anthony Beauvillier of the Shawinigan Cataractes. 

Of all the prospects we’ve been reviewing, it seems as though Beauvillier slots in the closest to that 24th overall selection in a lot of mock drafts or rankings, so there’s a good chance he’ll be there should Shanahan want to step to the podium and call his name.

The Numbers

In terms of simply raw output, Beauvillier had a really impressive draft year, notching 94 points – tops among draft-eligibles in the QMJHL. As for rates, he scored at a 1.4 points-per-game clip, which landed him third in the same group behind only Timo Meier and Evgeny Svechnikov, two players who will likely be off the board before the Leafs pick. 

Another impressive number that sticks out is Beavillier’s primary assist total, 38, which again leads the way for draft-eligibles, slightly ahead of another likely first-round selection, Daniel Sprong (37). Beauvillier is seen as a shoot-first center, and his impressive goal total definitely reflects that, so it’s probably fair to assume he generates a lot of scoring chances from rebounds as well. Unsurprisingly, he also ranks among the top five for Team Point Percentage – or percentage his points account for all the team’s production – at 36.6%.

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Again looking at his shooting ability, Beauvillier actually fired more pucks at the net than any other draft-eligible in the Q with a total 346, which is nice to see, since we can gather that his goal total wasn’t luck-driven on a scorching shooting-percentage (his 12.1% is actually the lowest of those listed above). In terms of shot-rate, he’s second only to Meier (5.3 to 5.2) in shots per game.

The Eye Test

Beauvillier is another player who, at 5’10, has scouts a little wary of his size. But his talent really can’t be denied.

Here’s a snippet on Beauvillier from Cory Pronman’s prospect rankings in May:

He’s an above-average skater, who can gain the zone effectively by pushing the defenders back on their gaps. He’s not an overly flashy player — and I’ve never seen him dominate a game — but he’s always making plays. He’s certainly got puck skills, but his best trait is his hockey IQ.

Beauvillier also gets some love from scouts for his shot accuracy and power. It’s clear why he uses it a lot.

That was almost Kessel-ish.

Does he make the Leafs’ shortlist?

A player who can produce at the rate Beauvillier has in his draft year is going to get a lot of attention regardless of size. It’s why plenty of mock drafts have him going in the first round, albeit late. Toronto’s management group is smart enough not to overlook a player based on height, so I have little doubt they’re interested in this kind of talent, a guy who can create scoring chances and drive play. 

Another thing to note is he’s a late birthday, not turning 18 until next week. It isn’t a reason to draft him, of course, but it’s at least enough to make his draft-plus-one season a little more interesting development-wise. Keep in mind another draft-eligible like Jack Eichel, for example, will basically go into the hockey season this fall as a 19-year-old. 

Beauvillier is listed as a center, which the Leafs are desperate for, but he appears to operate more like a winger instead of a pure distributor, so maybe that factors into their decision-making when they draw up their draft board.

Numbers pulled from CHLStats.com

  • Poluza

    This is the exact type of player that the previous management group would trade away in an effort to move up and draft a guy like Crouse. I’m so excited to see the types of players that are brought in by the new team!

    • Canadian Hockey Fan

      I agree. Players like Crouse are a big gamble. Just look at Tyler Biggs. I am betting that he becomes a bust, if he hasn’t already. The new Leafs management knows what’s going on and won’t make a Biggs mistake again.

  • silentbob

    Guys like Marner, Konecny and Beavillier are all fine prospects and I be happy with any of them, but I do hope that Babcocks version of Team Canada is an indication of the direction of the Leafs, and at this draft and moving forward they do put some importance on the elite players with size out there.

    I really don’t want to see the Leafs spend 5 years rebuilding properly and then find out they can’t/aren’t doing well in the playoffs because they get pushed around too much and have to spend another 5-6 years (like the Habs had to) correcting that.

    • silentbob

      I agree, Shanahan & co has to make sure there is a balance.

      If you look at the hawks they’ve always had one or two bigger guys to balance out their skill. During their first cup run they had Big Buff who almost single handedly took down Vancouver and during the last couple deep runs they’ve had Bryan Bickell who’s played pretty well.

    • Brooksterman

      I don’t think we have to worry about that. In this article: http://www.msn.com/en-ca/sports/nhl/maple-leafs-hunter-on-draft-strategy-we-will-not-just-focus-on-big-guys/ar-BBkCzaq?ocid=LENDHP Hunter basically says in my viewing of it, while they will not shy away from the smaller skilled players and won’t only focus on size and big players, they will still draft big players as Hunter sees that they need to have a balance of all different sized prospects and all different kinds of skill sets in their prospect pools. If they’re trying to decide between two players say Beauvillier and Bittner and they feel there isn’t a big gap between the two in terms of skill then they may take Bittner because he’s got size or they could take Beauvillier because he’s a centre. Basically Dubas has said that they could draft all small players and trade for size if they need it while Hunter who is going to have the final decision on who they pick is saying that they need to have a balanced draft where they take a variety of different sizes and styles. Seems like two of the management staff have different philosophies on how to approach the draft. Plus one thing Hunter will take into consideration is the style of play that Babcock and the management team want to play. Like they will probably want a strong two way puck possession style of team and thus a scorer that excels scoring off the rush may not be drafted because he may not fit that style of play.

  • silentbob

    @ Russian rocket – size and skill are not usually exclusive. I do t want to have Nylander playing with Orr. I’m talking about your Getzlaf, perry, Toew’s, Tavares type players.

    @brooksterman, I don’t buy this “we can trade for size” thing. If you want a good, high end, impactful player with size…..that’s hard to get. Is it any easier trading for Getzlaf then Kane?

    If the choice at 24 is Beauvillie or a Biggs or Gauthier type player, you take Beauvillie every time. But if Bouser or Chabot are there…..

    • Brooksterman

      I agree that we can’t trade for size just ask Montreal how hard it is. Just ask any team that’s broached the subject of Lucic in a potential trade with Boston. To me it’s as difficult as trying to acquire a top centre or top pairing defenseman. It’s why for me I value Strome and Hanifin higher for the Leafs than Marner.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    As someone who follows all Canadian teams, I think the Leafs have a great group of prospects right now. Brown, Strome or Marner, Bibeau, Leipsic, Valiev, and Nylander. Babcock will do a great job guiding them. It would be cool to see Mark Hunter as GM. The guy knows all the young guys coming up. Best of luck to the Leafs and Oilers in the future.

  • Brooksterman

    I would love for the leafs to get konecny if falls this fall or kylington. If not then hopefully they take beauviller . Sounds good offensively. And hopefull they can get another 1st or even second rounder in this draft. Marner would be hreat at 4th overall