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2011 Draft Prospect- Jean-François Leblanc, C, 6’4, 192, Val-d’Or



Jean-François Leblanc, C, 6’4, 192, Val-d’Or

43 games, 15 goals, 23 assists, 38 points, -17 +/- 24 pim

Drafted 4th overall in the 2009 QMJHL draft

By Ian Esplen

Jean-François Leblanc is an interesting player to NHL scouts and General Managers. He is 6’4 192 pounds and skates very well. He is a solid player in all three zones and he thinks the games extremely well. He has soft hand and a fairly high skill level. What makes his interesting is that for some reason he has yet to become a star in the QMJHL when he possesses all the tools to do so.

Jean-François Leblanc grew up staring in the St-Hyacinthe Minor Hockey Association. At the age of 15 he would be one of only 28 Quebec hockey players to receive a $1000 scholarship from the Montreal Canadiens. The scholarships are selected based on their on-ice performances, and academic achievements at the high school or collegiate levels.

He was then drafted 4th overall by the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the 2009 Quebec League draft, and would start playing for them the following season. In his first year, the big centre would not get a lot if ice time for the Foreurs. Even with his lack of playing time, he was a solid two-way player for the team, recording 16 points (7 goals) in 61 games. His play that season was good enough to earn an invite to play for Team Quebec at the World Under 17 Challenge. Despite a 6th place finish for team Quebec, Leblanc, would score 6 points in the 5 games. It was because of this strong tournament, that Leblanc would get an invite to Canada’s Summer U-18 camp. Despite a strong camp he would not make the team.

Not making Team Canada must have lite a fire in Leblanc, as he has been terrific this season for the Foreurs. He has secured a spot in their top 6 forwards, and is playing very well in both the offensive and defensive zones. He has also been an above average face off man for them. His 38 points rank second on the team, and have been a pleasant surprise as most people figured him as more of a defensive player.

Jean-François Leblanc has all the tools to be a solid 3rd line centre, which can occasionally play in the top 6. He’s a big player who would make a great “net presence” on the power play. His assets are size, good skater (for his size), face offs, intelligence and skill. His flaws are he could play more physical; he needs to work on his quickness and his first step. If Leblanc works hard over the next few season he should have a solid NHL career.

NHL comparison- Jarret Stoll

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