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.
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%.
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.