Stefan Fournier turned a great
overage year with QMJHL and Memorial Cup victories as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads into a three year, entry level contract with the Montreal Canadiens
on July 6th. The 6’3, 192 lb winger has the size and heart to one day play at the NHL level.
Shooting: B- (hard, accurate, with a fairly
Hockey Sense: A
Fournier has to
work on his skating, shooting, and stickhandling in order to take the final
step towards becoming an NHL’er. He has the desire to go to
the hard-to-get areas to score his goals, works hard in the corners, and
does not shy away from the physical aspects of the game. Fournier also has
hockey mind combined with tremendous leadership qualities. He is very
responsible at both ends of the ice, understanding the value of the defensive
side of the game. He was well coached in Halifax by Dominque Ducharme
who knew that for Fournier to succeed at the next level he had to totally buy
into the two way game; to his credit, he bought in.
In his first year with Hamilton, I believe Fournier will be a top-9 forward
with some second line powerplay chances. The first year for any young player is
to learn the system of his new team. Smart, successful organizations sign
players that fit into their game plan and have the same concepts in their
minor league systems so that when the young players make it to the NHL they
can adapt much quicker, providing an easier transition; the Canadiens now have
this system in place at Hamilton. If all goes well his second year, he should be a top-6
winger while seeing some first unit powerplay minutes followed by his third
year having a similar role in Hamilton while being a possible midseason call up to the big club, playing some fourth
line minutes, perhaps as a top-9 forward.
Stefan is a very coachable player
which will make his chances of success greater while having the heart of a lion that teammates respect and he is willing to stand up
for them by dropping the gloves. If I were grading his heart ‘skill,’ it
would be an A+. These elements, coupled with his anticipated improvement
skill-wise, should give him a chance to one day play in the NHL.
The Canadiens have
seen the qualities that Fournier processes and it fits into their tough
hard to play against team that they want to put on the ice. His work
ethic, competitive spirit, and leadership ability will push his teammates to be better
players as well, something that all teams look for in young players to help improve
organizational depth. I believe he will get the much needed guidance
that every young player needs to succeed in Hamilton and I would not be
surprised to see this kid one day live out his dream and play for the Montreal Canadiens.
Keep your eye on this kid, Hamilton, you could very well be looking at a future