After going third overall in the 2019 QMJHL Draft, expectations were high for Zachary L’Heureux on a deep Moncton team expected to contend for a league championship and Memorial Cup.
L’Heureux got off to a blistering start in his rookie season. He recorded his first point in his first league game, which led to an eleven-game point streak where he racked up six goals and 15 points — as well as his first multi-point and multi-goal games of his Q career.
Following a three assist showing at the U-17s with Canada Black, L’Heureux returned to Moncton and continued to produce for the Wildcats. He finished fifth on his team in scoring on Moncton’s second line with veterans Jeremy McKenna and Benoit-Olivier Groulx. At the end of the season, L’Heureux finished in a tie for first in points by a Q rookie with Rimouski’s Isaac Belliveau.
L’Heureux is an extremely well-rounded forward with excellent offensive instincts. He’s a strong skater who can create space for himself on the rush and power his way to better shooting areas on the ice. L’Heureux’s hands have looked a lot better and he demonstrated growth in his playmaking abilities throughout the season.
Equally as strong is his upper body — L’Heureux is tough to push off pucks and can muscle his way to the net with players on him. He willingly goes to the dirty areas of the ice and is incredibly difficult to battle along the boards.
L’Heureux doesn’t shy away from physical play; in fact, he thrives with it. However, he also had the tendency to let his physicality get away from him at times. He dropped the gloves multiple times and took about as many penalties as he had assists this season. The undisciplined play is something L’Heureux will have to reign in as his junior career continues — but the edge he plays with, along with his offensive talent, will undoubtedly be enticing to NHL teams in the future.
L’Heureux’s offensive production this season was incredibly promising, but on a younger and more inexperienced team next year, there are some question marks. With multiple Wildcats veterans off to professional hockey next season, Moncton will rely heavily on L’Heureux (and Calgary Flames draft pick Jakob Pelletier) to provide and drive offense next season.
Strengths: Skating, Work Ethic, Strength
To Improve: Driving Offense, Discipline
L’Heureux has the ability to beat defensemen in many ways, whether it is with speed to the outside or with the use of nifty stick work, and he always gets his shots through. The young forward protects the puck well on open ice and his strong edges make it hard for opponents to knock him off the puck. [2019 Black Book]
Physically mature, L’Heureux plays a pro-style game. He foreshadowed his success with a gold medal winning performance for Team Quebec in the 2019 Canada Winter games, where he put up 13 points. Playing on a deep Moncton team, L’Heureux has benefitted from good match-ups and a championship contending supporting cast. [Sportsnet]
What a beauty goal tonight in Halifax for Wildcats @Ozzie_king vs. #Mooseheads.— Denis Leblanc (@DenisL_1981) October 25, 2019
What an effort by 16 year old Zachary L’Heureux (#2021NHLDraft) on the play. #DefendTheDen #QMJHL #LHJMQ pic.twitter.com/6YaQJYarbp
On this 1st Saturday without any hockey at all, here’s a great tilt between Zachary L’Heureux (@monctonwildcats) vs Liam Kidney (@CBEHockey) from this past Wednesday night. @TimGRoszell with the call. @walsha #DefendTheDen pic.twitter.com/3L2KnbSNAw— Denis Leblanc (@DenisL_1981) March 14, 2020
Statistics from Elite Prospects and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.