While many teams across the QMJHL are looking for fresh starts in 2017-18, in Acadie-Bathurst the Titan is looking to continue right on doing what they’ve been building towards over the past two seasons.
Who could blame them? The Titan is, after all, coming off a 24-point improvement in the standings. Not to mention their first playoff series win in almost a decade – an impressive four-game sweep the Quebec Remparts. Thankfully for the Titan and their fans, the club has picked up where they left off with a spirited training camp that has team brass champing at the bit to begin the regular season.
“We were incredibly pleased with our training camp this year. We had several players who made a real impression,” explained Titan general manager Sylvain Couturier. “Our top pick from last year, Noah Dobson was really impressive especially at this young age of only 17 years old. Noah is a 6-foot-3, right-handed defenceman who is already an impact player and a franchise player for us. And up front, we obviously have Antoine Morand who we also expect big things from this year.
“Among our surprises this year at camp, there’s winger Ethan Crossman who we got via a trade with the Remparts this offseason. He is doing all the right things for us right now,” continued Couturier. “I think we have some really nice depth up front and on D and some good young players we just drafted,” “Our depth will be our primary strength this year.”
FULL INTERVIEW : Sylvain Couturier (FRENCH)
That the team can still rely on such depth is impressive given they will now have to soldier without several key players from a year ago.
“Losing a player like Christophe Boivin is a big loss for us on many levels,” admitted Couturier of his top scorer who led the team with 43 goals and 90 points in 2016-17. “He was huge for us and such an ambassador and pillar for us for four years. As a quality of human being above all else, he will be tough to replace.”
One key player the Titan are hoping they won’t have to play without his Russian star Vladimir Kuznetsov who both technically left the team following last season but has since found themselves in a position where he may be in maroon and gold this year after all.
“Kuznetsov left us for the KHL but has since been cut by his team,” revealed Couturier of the 30-goal scorer of a season ago. “We are in discussions to try to bring him back to Bathurst but nothing is final yet.”
Still hard at work finalizing an already talented roster, the Titan will clearly be more than ready when their season gets underway at home against Cape Breton on September 22.
The Titan in 2016-17
Record : 39-25-2-2 (84 pts)
Overall rank: 6th
Goals for: 270
Goals against: 230
Christophe Boivin (43-47-90)
Antoine Morand (28-46-74)
Vladimir Kuznetsov (30-38-68)
Lost in second round to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.