With the 66th overall pick in the 2015 draft, the Canucks selected Guilllaume Brisebois, a 6’2 defender from Acadie Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL.
The Canucks tried desperately to get a 2nd round pick at the 2015 draft as part of the Eddie Lack or Kevin Bieksa trades, but were ultimately unsuccessful. The silver lining was that, according to management, their intent was to pick Brisebois with a 2nd rounder if they were able to acquire one, so they were still able to get their man with the 3rd round pick acquired from Carolina.
He makes his Canucks Army prospect profile debut checking in at #16 in our organizational ranking.
Brisebois was a consensus 2nd round pick according to most analysts (Craig Button – 55, Future Considerations 58, Hockey Prospectus 53, Corey Pronman 67), so by all accounts he was a solid choice at that stage of the draft.
According to Curtis Joe, from EliteProspects.com:
Guillaume Brisebois is a passionate two-way defenseman who takes a very student-like approach to the game. For many players, it takes them a shift or two to “wake up” and get the ball rolling. The unique thing about this defenseman is that he’s always alert and ready to make a play, right from the get-go. He forces things to happen, and is a catalyst for positive plays at both ends of the ice. Under pressure, he calm and poised, focusing on his own game rather than what is going through other players’ minds. He is an excellent skater with a high level of hockey sense, and he realizes his role in all situations. He has great vision and has a deceptively strong shot that he must use more often. All-in-all, an intelligent two-way defenseman that plays with a lot of eagerness and hunger. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
From the perspective of our Prospect Cohort Success % methodology, Brisebois’ peers, based on his 16 and 17 year-old seasons, only managed to exceed 200 NHL games played 12-13% of the time. which is slightly less that we would expect at 66th overall, which is typically successful 16% of the time.
However, there is good reason to believe that our PCS system significantly undersells Brisebois. The Titans had the 2nd worst offense in the entire CHL last year at 2.3 goals per game. By comparison, the other 17 QMJHL teams averaged 3.6 goals per game. The Titan’s leading scorer last year, Mark Simpson, only managed to score 45 points, and they did not have a single player in the top 70 scorer in the QMJHL, which puts Brisebois’ 28 point season into context, especially considering Brisebois’ role as a puck moving defender (a player type we generally wouldn’t expect to drive offensive production singlehandedly).
Thinking about Brisebois’ lack of quality teamates a bit more, we’d note that Brisebois had a hand in 19.3% of his team’s points. At this rate, if Titan had managed to score at even an average QMJHL level, Brisebois could have easily seen his point total increase from 28 into the 40s, which would have pushed his PCS% into the mid 30% range, consistent with what we would expect from a late first, early second round pick.
The benefit to playing on such a weak team, is that Brisebois was given a ton of playing time and was typically tapped to square off against the opposition’s top talent, including players like Nik Ehlers, Timo Meier, Daniel Sprong, and Filip Chlapik. Despite being the second youngest full-time player on the Titan’s roster, Brisebois was named Captain.
The 2015-16 season should be an interesting one for Brisebois and his Titan’s. Not only will he expand on his leadership role, but the Titan’s offense should be receive a pretty significant boost by the addition of talented Russian, Vladimir Kuznetsov, selected 1st overall in the CHL import draft, and Antoine Morand, selected 2nd overall in the QMJHL entry draft.
Overall, Brisebois looks to be the type of defensemen who does most things quite well, but isn’t really off the charts in any one area. He’ll need to fill out his 170 lb frame in order to help him become a more intimidating physical presence, but for a fairly weak Canucks prospect pool at defense, Brisbois was a much needed addition.