This was a rebuilding year with the Junior de Montreal. They had plenty of talented veterans on the team last year such as Angelo Esposito, Luke Adam, Nick Layton, and Matt Fillier. By the beginning of the 2009-10 season they all were gone. That led to players like Guillaume Asselin, Louis-Marc Aubry, Matthew Brenton, and Jérémy Gouchie having to step up and assume the leadership roles. Management smartly added veteran David Stich (defence) to make sure that they young players would have plenty of role models to look up to. Aubry, Asselin, Brenton, Gouchie, and Stich not only were great leaders, but scored or took part in important goals for the team.
These players became even more important when the likes of goaltender Jake Allen, Pier-Antoine Dion, Toni Ritter, and Alex Wall were traded over the course of the season. This was a young team, but a skilled team and as the season went on young men like Trevor Parkes, Eliezer Sherbatov, Loik Poudrier, and Jean-Francois Bérubé began to give an indication that the future looks bright in Montreal. These young men were not only part of the team, but played important roles.
Jean-Francois Bérubé became "the man" in nets for the Junior. After Jake Allen was traded Bérubé started almost every game the team played. While he had some down moments they were aberrations and for the most part he had a strong first year as a starting goalie in the QMJHL. Winger Trevor Parkes was one of the strongest offensive players for the team in his first year. With his 27 goals (2nd on the team) and 47 points (tied for 3rd) he made his mark.
Even though they were a young team the Junior managed to make it into the playoffs. Their opponents were the Gatineau Olympiques. And things looked good for a while in regards to them advancing to the 2nd round as they had a 3-1 lead in games. In the end, they ended up succumbing to Gatineau 4 game to 3 and while this was disappointing there were more positives about the season than negatives.
With all the experience they gained this year in regards to what it takes to be a winning team in the QMJHL they all should come back that much stronger next year. The team will only for sure be losing a couple of players like David Stich and Matthew Brenton due to age (both 20). Having young defenceman Xavier Ouellet (who was injured for most of the season) for the entire season will be a plus. Players who are looking to take a regular spot with the team include 16-year-old defenceman Dillon Donnelly and highly touted Russian prospect Alexander Avtsin (whose NHL rights are owned by the Montreal Canadiens). Plus the team will have plenty of draft picks this year due to the players they traded away around the trade deadline. The future does indeed look so bright for the Junior de Montreal that I might have to go games with my sunglasses on.