The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League today revealed the identity of the three rookies nominated for this year’s Michel-Bergeron Trophy. The award is handed out to the League’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. The 2021-2022 finalists are Maxim Barbashev of the Moncton Wildcats, Jakub Brabenec of the Charlottetown Islanders and Mathieu Cataford of the Halifax Mooseheads.
The award is named after Michel Bergeron, who coached four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League between 1975 and 1980, winning the President Cup in 1978. He subsequently served as Head Coach of the Quebec Nordiques and the New York Rangers for eleven seasons in the National Hockey League. Past recipients of this award include many QMJHL Hall of Famers such as Pat LaFontaine, Martin Lapointe and Vincent Lecavalier.
After playing only ten games in a Wildcats uniform last season, Maxim Barbashev was back in Moncton to prove he is a top prospect for the upcoming NHL Draft. The Moscow native didn’t disappoint by scoring 15 goals and adding 27 assists in 59 regular season games. The first round selection at the 2020 Import Draft also participated in the 2022 Kubota Top Prospects Game held last March in Kitchener, ON.
Selected in the fourth round by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021, Jakub Brabenec was motivated to prove he was a solid future pro player.. He certainly didn’t disappoint by finishing first among QMJHL rookies for points (64) scoring 17 goals and adding 47 assists. The Jihlava, Czech Republic native also scored seven power-play goals and five game-winning goals for the Charlottetown Islanders.
Mathieu Cataford played in his first QMJHL season as a 16-year-old. The Saint-Constant native didn’t play like a rookie in a very competitive Maritimes division. He piled up 17 goals and 29 assists in 62 regular season games. The first round pick in the 2021 QMJHL Entry Draft also impressed during the President Cup playoffs by scoring four goals in only five games. There is no doubt that Cataford is a critical component in the Halifax Mooseheads’ rebuild.