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Lightning prospect Gabriel Fortier dealt to Moncton Wildcats in blockbuster QMJHL trade


Baie-Comeau Drakkar v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Baie-Comeau Drakkar announced Thursday afternoon that they had traded Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Gabriel Fortier to the Moncton Wildcats in exchange for 16-year old Julian Hebert and five additional draft picks.

Fortier, who has 17 goals, 15 assists, and 32 points in 36 games this season as the Drakkar’s captain, joins a Moncton team that has been one of the best teams in the QMJHL this season. The Wildcats sit second in the Eastern Conference with a 26-10-0 record. In contrast, Baie-Comeau is seventh in the same conference with a 15-16-5 record.

There has been a lot of change over the last month in the Moncton organization. The team decided to let go of former head coach John Torchetti in mid-December due to off-ice issues, citing that ‘change was needed’. Earlier today, the Wildcats dealt veteran winger Ozzie King to the Halifax Mooseheads, and made another forward-for-forward swap, sending left-wing Mark Rumsey to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, likely to make room for Fortier up front.

Known more for his defensive prowess than offensive production, Fortier helped boost the Baie-Comeau penalty kill to second-best in the QMJHL this season, at an 85.8% kill efficiency. Although Moncton’s PK% is similar, at fourth place league-wide with an 82.7% efficiency rate, expect Fortier to slot into a shorthanded role with the Wildcats as well.

Fortier joins a loaded Moncton squad that boasts high-octane forwards Jakob Pelletier (CGY), Alexander Khovanov (MIN), Benoît-Olivier Groulx (ANA), and 2021 top draft-eligible prospect Zachary L’Heureux. The team also has veteran Olivier Rodrigue (EDM) as their starting goalie. Fortier will likely slot in somewhere in the Wildcats’ bottom six, likely on the third line left-wing where there is an opening due to Rumsey’s departure. Moncton will challenge for a QMJHL championship and a Memorial Cup berth as they enter the second-half of the QMJHL season.