After a run of forwards in the latter parts of the second round, we now turn our attention to the QMJHL. Pierre-Olivier Joseph, the younger brother of Tampa Bay prospect Mathieu Joseph, is an intriguing puck mover that has been ranked all over the place this year.
Although P.O. Joseph will need to fill out his frame to take the next step, he has all the attributes of a puck moving defencemen that are becoming more and more valuable. If a team likes Joseph enough, he could hear his name called in the first round or he could fall to the mid second round and a team will gladly snap him up.
Let’s take a deeper look at our 55th ranked prospect in 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- Age: 17-years-old, 1999-07-01
- Birthplace: Chambly, QC, CAN
- Position: D
- Handedness: L
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 161 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Charlottetown Islanders – QMJHL
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Intriguing prospect. Wears ‘A’. Big mobile defender, no fun to play against. Plays a two-way game, but looks like he will develop into more of a shutdown physical defensive defender at next level.
There is a lot to like about Joseph’s game.
He is mobile, agile and effectively moves the puck to his forwards. He is also very good in his zone and is willing to take the body. There is reasons why he is in this range and why teams are interested in him, but there is also some flags. But it’s important to remember context on those flags.
Looking at his point breakdown for the season:
He put up very good numbers in October and November, with 23 of his 39 points coming in those two months. Then the Islanders acquired Nicholas Meloche and later traded for Carl Neill, thus reducing Joseph’s role and his offence suffered. He did rebound a bit in January with 7 points, but those came in four games. That means that he had 9 points in the other 31 games between December and March. That drop off is concerning, given that his eTOI ended the year at 19:58 for the season, you would expect a little more offence.
He did still end the season with ‘first pairing’ rates across the board, but those first months inflated those numbers. The QMJHL draft eligible defencemen this year leave something to be desired but Joseph did lead the entire group with 39 PTS.
He led that same peer group with SOG/GP with an average of 2.15. His shooting percentage was much lower that the three next lowest shooters:
Basically all of this is to say that there is a reason why P.O. Joseph is in the conversation as a second round pick and the others from the QMJHL will likely have to wait much longer on day two to hear their names called. Joesph has a complete skill set that can be attractive to teams. If he isn’t able to take that step as an offensive defenceman, he has the defensive chops and physical game to be a ‘stay at home’ guy who can move the puck to the forwards.
We are slowly getting away from that hulking defenceman who plays in their own end and makes players pay and going towards rearguards of Joseph’s ilk. Ideally, his production would’ve been more consistent, but with the context that the Islanders added Neill and Meloche to load up for a run at the President’s Trophy, the lowered production isn’t surprising but still concerning. Joseph did play with Neill quite a bit after that trade – with Neill jumping up into the play regularly and Joseph covering him.
Guillaume Brisebois and Meloche are likely graduating to the pro ranks, and Neill is too old to return, so there will be an increased role for Joseph next season.
The pGPS shines an okay light on the Chambly native with 15.6% of comparable players going onto becoming NHL regulars. Ideally in the middle to later parts of the second round, you are hoping for a higher percentage. However the context that I outlined above does boost Joseph’s stock a bit, thus a second round selection isn’t a reach.
The majority of comparable players were second pairing defencemen.
There are some intriguing names on there with Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Kris Letang making appearances. With both of them being slightly older at the time of the draft and with lower production. But it’s the QMJHL and it can be hard at times to pin point where a defenceman will trend.
Through my viewings of Joseph, I can see what scouts find attractive about him. He brings that well rounded game that should at the very least translate to the AHL. All of the information above does suggest that he isn’t a first round talent player but it just takes one team to like him enough.