The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Draft was held Saturday, May 31 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. 45 Americans, the most ever, were selected over the 14 rounds of the major junior league's draft. A large majority of these players picked would be best suited staying on the NCAA trajectory, but there will undoubtedly be a handful that are given bad advice to sign in the QMJHL.
Cornell recruit Michael O'Leary of the Salisbury School was the first NCAA commit selected when he was taken 14th overall by Cape Breton in the first round. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native didn't put up a ton of points in his first season of prep hockey, but he's got the type of frame and skill set that projects him to be a power forward at the next level.
O'Leary, a '98 who also played split-season midget puck with the Connecticut Wolf Pack, very much fits in the typical mold of a Big Red forward. He's supposed to be headed to Ithaca in the fall of 2017, but he most likely gave some indication of a willingness to at least explore the major junior route or he wouldn't have been picked so high.
UConn recruit Liam Murphy was the first American taken when the Avon Old Farms forward was pegged by Moncton with the fourth pick in the third round. The Killingworth, Conn. native is widely considered one of the top '98 forwards in the New England region.
The Winged Beaver forward put up seven goals and added 14 assists in his first season of prep hockey. He is an important recruit for Mike Cavanaugh and his staff in Storrs, but Moncton always strikes fear in the minds of NCAA Coaches with their propensity to interfere with a player's commitment.
A look at the rest of the Americans selected in Saturday's QMJHL Draft:
John Marino, Halifax, '97 D, South Shore Kings (USPHL Premier) - The Yale commit from Easton, Mass. is a versatile blue liner who plays extremely well in both ends. Marino, picked by Halifax with the second-to-last pick in the third round, is a talented puck-moving defenseman who would be a huge loss for college hockey if he bolted to the QMJHL.
Luke McInnis, Moncton, '98 D, Hingham High School (MIAA) - The son of former NHLer and BC alum Marty McInnis was picked up by Moncton in the fourth round. He is a solid player with good awareness on the ice, but he doesn't have the elite skill set, at least to this point, that his dad, a current volunteer assistant with the Eagles, had.
Frank Sullivan, Charlottetown, '96 D, Westminster School (New England Prep) - The Fairfield, Conn. native moves the puck well and could potentially be a quarterback on the power play at the next level, but he doesn't project higher than a fourth or fifth defenseman in college. Sullivan, who also played with the Junior Bruins' U18 team, was an interesting choice by Charlottetown near the end of the fourth round.
RJ Murphy, Moncton, '98 F, St. Sebastian's (New England Prep) - The Needham, Mass. native was selected by Moncton in the sixth round. Murphy, a Dubuque Fighting Saints draft pick in the USHL, is a big-bodied left winger out of Tim Lovell's Boston Advantage program. He has a prototypical pro physique, which is likely why the Wildcats took him as high as they did.
Jamie Armstrong, Acadie-Bathurst, '98 F, Bishop Hendricken (RIIL) - One of the top uncommitted players in his age group around New England, the Warwick, RI native is taking his talents to Avon Old Farms in the fall. He has a dynamic offensive skill set that will help him as his career develops.
Monte Graham, Saint John, '98 F, Thayer Academy (New England Prep) - The Hanover, Mass. native has very good vision on the ice and could be a terrific playmaker as his career progresses. He played split-season midget for the Cape Cod Whalers in addition to his time spent with Tony Amonte's prep powerhouse in Braintree.
Chad Krys, Moncton, '98 D, NJ Rockets (Midget) - The former CT Oilers blue liner likely would have been picked higher had he not already committed to playing for the US National Development Program the next two seasons. The Ridgefield, Conn. native is a smooth skater with tremendous upside.
Matt Dillon, Gatineau, '97 F, Islanders (USPHL U18) - The Shrewsbury, Mass. native has yet to really grow into his body, but the raw talent is evident. He isn't a sure thing, but he's a player that possess the ability to elevate his game. He played with the Boston Junior Bruins before moving over to the Islanders.
Matt Koopman, Moncton, '98 F, Marblehead High School (MIAA) - The speedster from Marblehead was pegged by Moncton in the eighth round. Koopman will be leaving the high school circuit to play for Dan Driscoll at Berkshire School in the fall.
Colin White, Quebec, '97 F, US National Development Program - A native of Hanover, Mass., White played at Nobles and for the Cape Cod Whalers before moving on to to the USNTDP. White is the complete package. He has the size and the physical tools to be a gifted offensive player at the NCAA level. He's slated to arrive at Boston College for the 2016-17 season.
Casey Fitzgerald, Sherbrooke, '97 D, US National Development Program - Another Boston College recruit, the former Malden Catholic Lancer is the brother of BC rising sophomore Ryan and the son of NHL veteran and former Providence great Tom. He has the bloodlines for sure, but he has plenty of ability himself. The ninth round pick of Sherbrooke won't wow observers with his size, but he has great hockey savvy as well as ability to see the ice and move the puck in transition.
Kevin Resop, Halifax, '97 G, Boston Junior Bruins (USPHL U18) - Halifax pegged the St. Petersburg, Fla. native in the ninth round of the draft. He's one of the top uncommitted goaltenders playing in the New England region. He combines athleticism with the ability to cover a good chunk of the net.
Ryan Dmowski, Acadie-Bathurst, '97 F, The Gunnery (New England Prep) - The UMass Lowell recruit really took his game to the next level for Chris Baudo's team this winter. In addition to his exploits at the prep level, he played five games for Des Moines in the USHL. He's a strong skater who will likely take his game to the Mill City in 2015 instead of plying his trade with Acadie-Bathurst.
Hunter Luhmann, Charlottetown, '97 F, Proctor Academy (New England Prep) - The White River Junction, Vermont native just completed his third season of prep school hockey. He's not an overly skilled prospect. but he plays the game well and could potentially have an impact at the NCAA level.
Derek Britner, Moncton, '97 F, Proctor Academy (New England Prep) - The Salem, NH native was pegged by Moncton in the 10th round. The Wildcats are known to aggressively go after their prospects, but Britner would best be served by continuing his track towards the NCAA level.
Erik Foley, Acadie-Bathurst, '97 F, Tabor Academy (New England Prep) - The Providence recruit from Mansfield, Mass. is property of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the USHL. He has a quick and accurate release, which makes him a terrific finisher. Foley, who his prep coach described as athletic, will likely arrive at Providence for the 2015-16 season.
Matt Filipe, Shawinigan, '97 F, Malden Catholic (MIAA) - No one has been higher on the Lynnfield, Mass. native than this observer. He plays a powerful game, which comes easily for the big and strong center iceman. The Northeastern recruit is the son of former Huskies defenseman Paul Filipe. He was drafted by Cedar Rapids in last month's USHL Draft.
J.J. Layton, Val-d'Or, '97 D, Austin Prep (MIAA) - Another player who this observer has been high on, Layton will be bringing his talents to Kimball Union Academy in the fall. The Peabody, Mass. native is a physical defenseman who has good vision and has the ability to make smart plays up ice. With a little more fine tuning, Layton could very well be on his way to a Division I scholarship.
Luke Stevens, Rimouski, '97 F, Nobles (New England Prep) - The son of BC alum and NHL veteran Kevin Stevens, Luke was picked up by Rimouski in the 11th round. The huge Duxbury, Mass. product is property of the Omaha Lancers in the USHL. Stevens' stock is helped out by his last name, but he is the type of player who could blossom into something special given his size and pedigree.
Cal Burke, Sherbrooke, '97 F, Nobles (New England Prep) - The Notre Dame recruit is a tremendous passer who will likely continue to develop into a terrific setup man at the collegiate level. The Boxborough, Mass. native projects as a solid player at the NCAA level.
Alex Rowella, Shawinigan, '97 F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (USPHL U16) - The Ridgefield, Conn. native had 10 goals and 17 assists in 24 games played this winter for the emerging power program out of Pennsylvania.
Robbie Roche, Moncton, '97 D, Walpole Express (EHL) - The Holden, Mass. native was a total flyer pick here by the Wildcats.
Matthew Cousino, Val-d'Or, '97 D, Rice Memorial (Vermont High School) - The Burlington, Vermont native has good size and has seen time with the Green Mountain Glades program.
Brent Hill, Rimouski, '97 F, Cushing Academy (New England Prep) - The Penguins forward from Lunenburg, Mass. is a late '97 who could continue to develop under the tutelage of Rob Gagnon.
Jonathan Alsfeld, Moncton, '97 F, Cranston Reds (MetJHL) - The Johnston, RI native is a relative unknown playing in a lesser junior league such, but the Wildcats see an undersized yet highly skilled forward who could possibly jump ship to north of the border.
William Brophy, Chicoutimi, '96 D, Westminster Prep (New England Prep) - A very large blue liner, Brophy could be in a large line of Westminster alums to excel at the collegiate level. 2013 Boston Bruins pick Wiley Sherman is another Westminster defender.
Peter Christie, Victoriaville, '97 D, Phillips Exeter (New England Prep) - A smart blue liner, the Durham, NH native has good composure and instincts from the backend.
Taggart Corriveau, Rouyn-Noranda, '97 F, Westminster Prep (New England Prep) - Yet another Westminster product pegged in the draft, Corriveau has good offensive instincts, but he is a player who seems destined to take the college route.
Billy Sweezey, Cape Breton, '96 D, Nobles (New England Prep) - The offensive defenseman from Hanson, Mass. is already committed to Keith Allain and the Yale Bulldogs. Sweezey has also played split-season midget for the Cape Cod Whalers and the South Shore Kings.
William Dorsi, Drummondville, '97 F, St. Sebastian's (New England Prep) - The junior from Sudbury, Mass. was the leading scorer on Sean McCann's Arrows squad this past winter. He doesn't possess tremendous size, but he's a player that could continue to progress.
Patrick DeBlois, Blainville-Boisband, '96 D, Portland Jr. Pirates (USPHL U18) - The Lewiston, Maine native combines some offensive ability with the desire to play with an edge.
Harrison Markell, Baie-Comeau, '97 D, Middlesex (New England Prep) - The Andover, Mass. native has good size and has shown the ability to step into the offensive given the right circumstances.
Lincoln Griffin, Saint John, '97 F, Thayer Academy (New England Prep) - The Northeastern recruit out of Walpole, Mass. possesses great setup skills and can be an impact offensive player.
Ace Cowans, Charlottetown, '96 F, Groton (New England Prep) - The Beverly, Mass. native has played for Groton Academy and the Cape Cod Whalers split-season midget team the past two winters. What he lacks in size he makes up for in offensive creativity and soft hands.
Jeremy Germain, Acadie-Bathurst, '96 F, Choate (New England Prep) - The junior from Hamden, Conn. was one of the main setup men for Harvard recruit Joey Caffrey this winter.
Patrick O'Leary, Chicoutimi, '97 D, Boston Advantage U16 (Midget) - The Norfolk, Mass. native is raw, but he has the size and potential to be an excellent shutdown defender at the NCAA level. O'Leary really uses his size well and has the intimidation factor, especially at the younger levels.
McKay Flanagan, Victoriaville, '97 D, CT Oilers (EHL) - Property of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Flanagan is a defenseman with good size, but someone who will play conservative on the backend. He's not the type of blue liner to go running around looking for the big hit.
Ben Finkelstein, Rouyn-Noranda, '97 D, Kimball Union (New England Prep) - The South Burlington, Vermont native played for Tim Whitehead's Wildcats this past winter. The undersized blue liner played at Cardigan Mountain previously.
Mike Lee, Cape Breton, '96 D, The Gunnery (New England Prep) - The Vermont recruit played for Chris Baudo at the prep school level before playing two games with Tri-City in the USHL to close out the season. The Hamden, Conn. native with an offensive upside from the blue line is expected to play for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL next winter.
Jake McKenelly, Gatineau, '97 F, Austin Prep (MIAA) - The Middleton, Mass. native showed the ability to be in the right place at the right time on more than one occasion for the Cougars this winter. He spent a large portion of the season playing on the left wing with BU recruit Bobo Carpenter.
Spencer Young, Quebec, '97 D, Phillips Exeter (New England Prep) - The 2016 Providence recruit is a strong skater who can carry the backend very well. His skill set likely would have had the Brentwood, NH native picked higher if not for his stated desire to carry out the NCAA route.
Eric MacAdams, Drummondville, '97 F, Austin Prep (MIAA) - The Salem, Mass. native was injured for a portion of the past season, but he scored some big goals in the postseason for Lou Finocchiaro's team. He has good hands and ability to maneuver in tight spaces, but he's best served going the NCAA route.
Connor Sodergren, Blainville-Boisband, '96 F, St. Paul's (New England Prep) - The captain of the NEPSIHA Large School runner-up, the Tewksbury, Mass. native brings a lot of the intangibles to the table. He has good size and decent finishing ability. He projects as a third or fourth liner with the potential to add occasional offense at the NCAA level.
Connor Sundquist, Baie-Comeau, '97 F, Selects Academy (USPHL U16) - The rightwing saw his stock rise dramatically in the past season, but he is still a player that should take the NCAA route. The Glastonbury, Conn. native was taken as a flyer late in draft. He'll likely end up at a Hockey East school sometime in the near future.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.