I worked Top 40 radio for a few years, it was a blast. Canadian hit radio relied heavily on approximately one dozen artists to provide new singles about every 12 weeks. Some, like Trooper and Bryan Adams, were clockwork. Others were hit and miss.
A band from Montreal called Men Without Hats were something else altogether. Their first hit, The Safety Dance, rocketed up the charts on multiple formats and became an instant classic. It was written after the band’s lead singer (Ivan Doroschuk) was thrown out of a club for pogo dancing. It was a monster.
We played it once an hour. You could play it in any spot in the hour, which is basically going Martin Luther on the Canadian top 40 format. The band would never fly as high again, but remained wildly entertaining and stubbornly original.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, check it out here.
- New Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Who are the Oilers’ top 10 prospects and where do they project in the NHL?
- New Jonathan Willis: How do Connor McDavid’s first five NHL seasons compare to the all-time greats?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2020 draft: Are fans ready for Oil Kings’ Jake Neighbours?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers need to keep feeding their currently rich pipeline of defensive prospects
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How a series of oddball jobs prepared Ken Holland for his front-office career
- Jonathan Willis: 2020 NHL offseason goalie market: Team needs, free agents and trade possibilities
- Lowetide: Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins far more than ‘also in photo’ contributor
- Jonathan Willis: Building the best all-time Oilers roster, with a twist
- Lowetide: What are Tyler Benson’s chances of making the Oilers in 2020-21?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘They were looking outside the box’: Oilers’ distinctive third jerseys still stand out
- Lowetide: If Oilers draft for skill, Seth Jarvis likely to be best available
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Should the Oilers pursue Taylor Hall this summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: The results are in: How you voted in our inaugural Oilers fan survey
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers are preparing for an NHL draft in June
- Jonathan Willis: How Gaetan Haas, Joakim Nygard and Riley Sheahan draw calls that lead to goals
- James Mirtle: Ranking every NHL team’s salary cap situation, from best to worst
- Lowetide: Can the Oilers find Connor McDavid’s ideal winger this summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The two coaches who had the biggest influence on Dave Tippett
- Jonathan Willis: The 5 reasons why the Oilers re-signed Gaetan Haas
- Jonathan Willis: Can (and should) the Oilers trade Kris Russell?
- Jonathan Willis: How Edmonton could have left 2010 draft with both Taylor Hall and Ryan Johansen
- Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s NHL comparables offer Oilers fans hope for the future
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospect update: A lot of movement and some impressive graduations
THE QMJHL’S BEST FOR 2020
- L Alexis Lafreniere. He has insane talent. NHLE is 50.
- RC-RW Dawson Mercer. Highly skilled forward who is a plus passer. NHLE is 33.
- RC Mavrik Bourque. Creative center with great hands. Great passer, great shot. NHLE: 33.
- LD Jérémie Poirier. Smart two-way defender. Solid from the Hlinka forward, June 2002
- LC Hendrix Lapierre. Skill center who projects as a playmaker. Feb 2002.
- RHD Justin Barron. Mobile defenseman who can defend. Lacks top-end offensive ability.
- LC Vasili Ponomaryov. Great hands and good speed, he’s a little under the radar.
- RD William Villeneuve. Tall, thin two-way defenseman spiked offensively. Great passer.
- LD Lukas Cormier. Undersized skill defender with good speed and skill.
- RW Ryan Francis. Playmaking winger who plays a smart game. His NHLE is 27.
- G Sam Hlavaj. Boasts a .915 save percentage and stands 6.04, 218.
- LC Theo Rochette. Undersized two-way C improved slightly year over year.
- RD Thimo Nickl. Strong skater, two-way blue, December 2001.
- RW William Dufour. Big winger is aggressive, good hands and instincts.
- LC Brady Burns. Small (5.08) puck wizard is effective as a passer and scorer.
- RW Charles Beaudoin. Average size, 18 even-strength goals.
- RW Raivis Ansons. Has some skill and two-way ability. Climbed final CS ranking.
I’m going to tell you something: The QMJHL isn’t like the OHL or WHL. I don’t know what it is, but my OHL and WHL lists will be more accurate five years from now than this one. Adam Sherren is a major help each year (I quote him on Raphael Lavoie below) but something about the numbers (and therefore my rankings) doesn’t rhyme. Every year.
The OHL and WHL are puzzles to be unlocked; the QMJHL remains an unsolved mystery, like the bottom of the sea. Scorers and checkers to come are not included on my list, a fine goalie or two as well. Finding them via math is damned near impossible.
There will be NHL players not listed above who come from a large group of forwards whose numbers look just like the William Dufour totals above. I think it might have to do with the wild gaps in team quality (in the Maritimes Division one team won 50 games, another 12 in 64 games).
- L Jakob Pelletier. Undersized skill winger with two-way ability.
- RC Raphael Lavoie. Adam Sherren: “A big physical force who is that old fashioned power forward.”
- R Nathan Légaré. Power winger who can score goals, can find open ice.
- R Maxim Cajkovic. Fantastic skater has impressive potential.
- L Samuel Poulin. Smart, two-way player delivers a heavy game, speed is just okay.
- LC Nikita Alexandrov. Skill center who can impact the game as a passer or scorer.
- LD Sam Bolduc. Big defenseman with good speed and two-way ability.
- LD Artemi Knyazev. Two-way defenseman, he is a quality skater.
- G Colten Ellis. Has posted two quality seasons in a row, with SP’s of .913 and .910.
- LD Maxence Guenette. Smart two-way defenseman, improved offensively this season.
- LC Mikhail Abramov. Small forward with plus speed and passing ability.
- R Alex Beaucage. Impressive scorer quick release, it’s good enough for 39 goals.
- RD Jordan Spence. Outstanding skater who makes good decisions with the puck.
- LD Justin Bergeron. He has good speed, creativity and is a good defender.
- LC Valentin Nussbaumer. He’s a smart two-way center but what will get him drafted is his speed.
- G Jonathan Lemieux. A nice step forward year over year (.902, from .867).
I’m getting closer, the only names on my list that went undrafted were Bergeron and Lemieux. On the other hand, I failed to list Egor Serdyuk, Felix Bibeau, Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Jeremy Michel. That’s an improvement on my QMJHL rankings of the past, but I’ll announce my arrival when I list every player chosen and the guy Tampa Bay signs in September as a free agent.
- Alexis Lafreniere 50.2
- Mavrik Bourque 33.7
- Dawson Mercer 33.3
- Raphael Lavoie 27.4
- Marc Pouliot 26.2
- Marco Roy 24.0
- Hendrix Lapierre 20.8
- Vasili Ponomaryov 20.0
Lafreniere is in a world of his own, and I do believe Bourque and Mercer are going to have careers on skill lines. Lavoie’s draft day numbers are better than some of the Q kids who will go in the first round this season.
Nail Yakupov’s career hasn’t worked out as planned, and his second KHL season (after going back over) saw a drop in goals from 23 to 10. His 62 NHL goals are still good for No. 9 among players chosen in the 2012 draft.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun Friday show to kick off the weekend, TSN1260 at 10 this morning. Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck and BigMouthSports will chat about “The Last Dance” and the coming sporting events without fans. Matt Iwanyk will join us at 11 for Point/Counter Point to talk about the CFL and what we might see this season, plus the NHL’s return. Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show will talk about the Oil Kings run to the Memorial Cup in 2014. 10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!