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Prospect Update: Maxime Comtois
By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks drafted Maxime Comtois 50th overall last summer, their first selection of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Many had initially pegged Comtois as a first round pick, but he didn’t have a great season before he was drafted, causing him to fall in the draft, and the Ducks were only too happy to snag him before someone else did. Comtois was the final piece of the Frederik Andersen trade. So the trade reads that the Ducks traded Andersen to Toronto for Comtois and Sam Steel, two of Anaheim’s better prospects.
After scoring 51 points before being drafted, Comtois had a monster year for the Victoriaville Tigres this past season. In 54 games, he scored 44 goals and 85 points. He was second on his team in both goals and points, while finishing fourth in goals and fifth in points in the QMJHL. In the playoffs, Comtois played in 13 games and scored four goals and 12 points, helping Victoriaville reach the third round of the QMJHL playoffs. They lost to the eventual QMJHL and Memorial Cup Champions, the Acadie-Bathurs Titan, where one of Comtois’ best friends and fellow Anaheim prospect Antoine Morand played. Comtois had five points in the four-game series loss, so he did what he could to keep his team afloat, but it wasn’t enough.
On top of dominating in the QMJHL, Comtois also played for Team Canada at the World Juniors. Initially, I was a little surprised by his inclusion, but he proved that he belonged on that team. In seven games at the World Juniors, he scored three goals and six points, helping Canada reclaim gold in the tournament. He finished tied for sixth in points and tied for third in goals on Team Canada. Pretty good numbers considering that he was primarily used in a checking role.
Before the World Juniors, Comtois was having a solid season. After the tournament, he had a fantastic season. In his first game back, he scored two goals and three points. In his first eight games after the tournament, he scored 16 points, and in 20 games after the tournament, he scored 44 points. The World Juniors was clearly a catalyst for Comtois’ scoring surge in the second half of the season, something he can hopefully carry into next season.
This coming season, my first expectation for Comtois is to keep scoring at a similar, or even better rate. He’ll be on a new team, the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and they’re going to expect a lot of offense out of Comtois. He had 44 goals and 85 points last year, if he can get into that 50 goal and 100 point range this coming season, that would be fantastic. My second expectation is for Comtois to go to the World Juniors and be one of Canada’s better players. He was a solid contributor for Canada last year; this time around, I’d like to see him be one of their top players and see more time in scoring situations. After his performance last year, Comtois is almost guaranteed a spot on the team, but he could lose it if he has a poor first half of the season. It would be fantastic if he could help Canada repeat, something no country has done since Canada won five gold medals in a row from 2005-2009. Finally, and this one is a little trickier, my last expectation for Comtois to put up even more points in the playoffs. However, that will greatly depend on how far his new team goes in the postseason.
In terms of his NHL future, I don’t think that Comtois is quite there yet. He’s got another year of juniors ahead of him before he turns pro. The Ducks like to let most of their prospects get a bit of time in San Diego before calling them up, and Comtois will likely be treated the same. However, if he can come in and have a great camp both this year and next year, he’s got a shot to go straight to the NHL in the 2019-2020 season. Personally, I think that’s a bit of a longshot, but he’s a solid prospect and if he plays well enough, he could surprise. Also, the fact that Comtois is a left winger could help him in this endeavor as well, as the Ducks have been traditionally weak on the left side. Rickard Rakell and Andrew Cogliano are both firmly entrenched on the left wing, but Nick Ritchie hasn’t solidified his hold on a top-nine left wing spot yet so there could be room for Comtois in Anaheim a year from now.
The Ducks signed Comtois to his entry-level deal back in March. By signing that contract now, he will have a chance to compete for a roster spot in Anaheim at training camp this season. However, it’s more likely that he returns to juniors and his contract will not begin until the following season. Comtois would have to play in 10 or more NHL games for his contract to begin this season. While unlikely to happen, there is definitely a chance if he has a strong enough camp.
The next prospect update will be on Max Jones. For more prospect articles visit DucksNPucks.com
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September 3rd, 2018