As we move closer to the draft each day, TWC’s draft profile series will continue to take a look at players projected to go in the first round. Today, we take a look at projected late first round pick Zachary L’Heureux, ranked 23rd on TWC’s 2021 Consolidated NHL Draft Rankings.
Who is Zachary L’Heureux?
On the younger end of the draft class, L’Heureux is a 5’11”, 196 pound left wing from Montreal. Before joining the major junior ranks in 2019, he played triple A in Quebec. While he played more at centre when he was younger, he has played on the wing in the QMJHL.
After being picked third overall in the QMJHL draft, he had a strong rookie season but was traded from Moncton to Halifax for his draft-eligible season nonetheless. He played well in Halifax, typically playing alongside Elliot Deysnoyers and Jordan Dumais or Robert Orr on the top line.
Zachary L’Heureux’s on-ice production
L’Heureux has put up some impressive numbers over the last three seasons.
With an impressive 52 points in 41 games in triple A with Châteauguay, its no surprise L’Heureux managed the jump to major junior so well. With nearly a point per game in his rookie season, he immediately proved himself to be a valuable player at that level.
The following season in Halifax, he eclipsed the point per game mark and dramatically improved his goals per game, although he scored one fewer total goals. In 2019–20, he scored 0.36 goals per game, compared with in 0.58 goals per game this year.
Zachary L’Heureux’s strengths
It will come as no surprise after looking at his on-ice production to hear that L’Heureux’s strengths include his shot. His wrist and snap shots are strong with quick releases. His one timer and slap shots are also impressive.
He is also strong on the puck, and can be difficult to defend because of it. It can be very difficult for defenseman to get him off the puck or win battles against him.
But his greatest strength is his skating. This also helps him to win battles and protect the puck, and helps him stay in position defensively. He isn’t the fastest player in the draft, but he is very strong on his feet, and uses his high-level agility to his advantage well.
In this clip, L’Heureux shows off both his skating and shot while burying a beautiful breakaway goal.
Goals like this are not uncommon for him. Using his strong skating to find a position from which he can release a dangerous shot helps drive his offensive production.
Zachary L’Heureux’s areas of improvement
There is one clear area of L’Heureux’s game that needs work, and it’s not a knock on either his offensive or defensive capabilities. In fact his one serious weakness is his lack of discipline. This past season, he was suspended four times.
Here is a clip of one of his suspensions. In an otherwise fairly innocuous play, L’Heureux (number 66) goes out of his way to deliver a crosscheck to the head of his opponent—who is looking the other way.
In total, he missed 13 games in the pandemic-shortened season. Six for unsportsmanlike conduct, four for fighting, and three for “high-sticking and accumulation of codes”. Overall, not a very positive reflection on L’Heureux as a player. Even if you have all the skills, if you aren’t on the ice to use them, you aren’t helping your team.
On the other hand, he clearly has the talent. Should he mature into a more disciplined player, suddenly his only weakness disappears, and all the team is left with is a well-rounded top prospect.
Fit with the Flames
The Flames are set to pick 12th overall at this years draft. L’Heureux is ranked at number 23 in our TWC consolidated prospect rankings, so it’s unlikely the Flames will choose him with their first-round pick. Other players who are more highly regarded will still be on the board, especially when considering the Flames are quite set on the left wing as it is and may prefer to draft to fill more urgent positional needs.
There’s the outside chance he falls in the rankings due to concerns about his discipline issues, and if he’s available later it’ll serve both as a wake up call to him, but also potentially a steal of a pick for the team selecting him.
Zachary L’Heureux is a left wing playing in the QMJHL for the Halifax Mooseheads. He had 39 points in 33 games playing on the the top line. He plays a very complete game, with his shot and skating standing out as strengths.
His one key weakness is discipline, having been suspended four times this season. If he can sort out that aspect of his game, he could become a strong second line forward in the future.
Projection: Middle-six forward
Previously: William Eklund, Dylan Guenther, Cole Sillinger, Jesper Wallstedt, Kent Johnson, Simon Robertsson, Fabian Lysell, Aatu Räty, Carson Lambos, Simon Edvinsson, Chaz Lucius, Mason McTavish, Brennan Othmann, Corson Ceulemans, Francesco Pinelli, Oskar Olausson, Xavier Bourgault
Featured image created with Venngage.