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Drummondville's defence looks to stand strong at Memorial Cup

Drummondville Voltigeurs Celebrate Drummondville Voltigeurs Celebrate - Vincent Ethier

The 104th Memorial Cup is set to begin in Saginaw, Mich. on Friday with the entirety of the tournament available on TSN.

The Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights, Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League champion Drummondville Voltigeurs, Western Hockey League champion Moose Jaw Warriors, and the host team Saginaw Spirit will compete for the right to be named the champion of the Canadian Hockey League.

With analysis from TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button, we will profile each team leading up to the tournament opener on Friday.


The Drummondville Voltigeurs finished as the QMJHL’s second best regular season team with a 48-14-6 record.

They continued to prove themselves as one of the league’s best teams in the playoffs by only losing a total of three games en route to winning the 2024 Gilles-Courteau Trophy. Drummondville’s playoff run was capped off by allowing just five goals in their four-game sweep of the regular season champion Baie Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL Championship series.

The Voltigeurs are a strong defensive team that doesn’t make many mistakes but will have to be on their game when they take on the OHL champion London Knights in their first tournament game on Saturday.

Balanced Attack

The Voltigeurs were the highest scoring team in the QMJHL in the regular season, recording 306 goals. However, none of their skaters finished within the top-16 in league scoring.

Drummondville has a balanced attack that saw seven players crack the 60-point plateau this season. They are also a team that rarely slips up on the defensive end, which leads to offensive opportunities.

“I think Drummondville understands exactly who they are and if they’re going to get into races up and down the ice, it’s not to their advantage,” said Button. “They like to build their offence through their defensive play, and they don’t beat themselves for the most part.”

The leader of the Voltigeurs is captain Luke Woodworth, who has been a pillar of consistency for the team. The 5-foot-9 centre recorded 21 goals and 62 points during the regular season then finished fourth in playoff scoring with seven goals and 17 points.

Woodworth just wrapped up his fourth QMJHL season and has 57 goals and 194 points in 232 career games, all with the Voltigeurs.

“[Drummondville head coach] Sylvain Favreau knows exactly what he’s getting every single shift in every single game with Woodworth,” said Button. “He is consistently in the game, consistently competitive, consistently smart, consistently timely, and consistently clutch.”

Also providing leadership up front for the Voltigeurs is winger Sam Oliver, who finished tied for the team lead in scoring in the regular season with 35 goals and 71 points.

The 5-foot-11 winger was acquired by the Voltigeurs during the 2021-22 campaign after beginning his major junior career with the Charlottetown Islanders. In his first two seasons in the league, he was around an Islanders team that were among the contenders for a league championship.

Oliver contributed nine goals and 17 points during the Voltigeurs’ championship run and is using his past experiences to help his team as they progress into the Memorial Cup.

“He’s another player who continued to progress after gaining experience with a good Charlottetown team,” said Button. “He gained a great deal of confidence in his play and more than that, he’s figured out how he needs to play in order to be successful.”

Twin Towers on Defence

Drummondville has the luxury of putting out two of the best defencemen in the league in Buffalo Sabres draft pick Vsevolod Komarov and newly signed New Jersey Devils prospect Mikael Diotte.

Diotte won the Kevin Lowe Trophy in 2024 as the QMJHL’s best defensive defenceman while Komarov took home the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the defenseman of the year.

“When you can have Komarov on the ice for half the game and then Diotte out for the other half, it’s pretty comforting [for Favreau],” said Button. “They have two defencemen that they can have out for the whole game.”

The Voltigeurs’ roster also featured Utah prospect and Canadian World Junior stand out Maveric Lamoureux, but the 6-foot-7 right-shot defenceman has been out since March 16 with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Drummondville’s defensive corps is a big contingent with only rookie Yan Gaudreau listed at under 6-feet.

“The defensive corps is big, and they make you beat them,” said Button. “They’re patient and they’re not going to create vulnerabilities, so they don’t beat themselves. They try to force opponents into making mistakes and that’s how they create their offence.”

Thriving Goaltending

Riley Mercer had a great year for the Voltigeurs in the regular season, going 31-13-4 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.

In the playoffs, Mercer has taken his game to another level, leading the league with a 1.89 GAA and .934 save percentage.

“I’m blown away with Mercer’s performance [during these playoffs],” said Button. “He has been a goalie who has elevated his game as the playoffs have gone on and his stats have been unbelievable.”

Mercer was particularly dominant in Drummondville’s five-game victory over the Victoriaville Tigres in the Western Conference Championship Series and their sweep of the Drakkar in the QMJHL Championship Series.

In his last eight victories he only gave up 11 goals with two shutouts and in the final he had a .958 save percentage.

“The Voltigeurs get into the third round and win the series with only one loss in overtime,” Button explained. “Then they sweep the regular season champions and one of the highest scoring teams in the league with two shutouts at on the road.

“I’m absolutely blown away with his performance.”

Players to Watch: Vsevolod Komarov and Ethan Gauthier

The Voltigeurs have two main catalysts with Komarov on the backend and Ethan Gauthier up front.

Komarov was acquired from the Quebec Remparts in December and came with a pedigree of winning after he helped the Remparts to a Memorial Cup victory last season.

The Buffalo Sabres prospect led all defencemen in scoring during the regular season with 14 goals and 69 points in 60 games split between the Remparts and Voltigeurs.

In the playoffs, the 6-foot-4 right-shot defenceman continued to be a pillar on the back end, registering five goals and 15 points and won the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the QMJHL playoff MVP.

“Komarov runs the show from the back end,” said Button. “He’s a calming presence for both his team and his coach. He dares players to try to beat him and it’s like trying to get around a pterodactyl.”

Button gives former Remparts coach and current New York Islanders head coach Patrick Roy credit for how Komarov has been able to develop into one of the best defencemen in junior hockey.

“Early in his career he was a little bit gangly and awkward, but you believed those things would work out on its own and they have,” said Button. “Roy did an unbelievable job with him in getting him to understand his skills and attributes, but also taught him how to use them to maximize it to the best of his abilities to help the team.”

Gauthier is the key player up front for the Voltigeurs. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect was tied with Oliver in team scoring with 36 goals and 71 points in the regular season.

He then rose his game in the playoffs, registering 14 goals and 25 points to finish tied for second in playoff scoring.

The 5-foot-11 winger is viewed as a complete player that is focused on doing all the little things to help his team win.

“Gauthier is the type of player where the longer you watch him, you appreciate him more,” said Button. “There’s not a lot of flash and dash with him, but there’s massive substance.

“Do I think he could go out and get 100 points? I do. But he’s so dialled into the complete game and doing whatever the team needs in every situation.”

Button doesn’t think Gauthier will end up being a top-line centre in the NHL, but after landing with the Lightning in the draft, he thinks that he’s in a perfect position to solidify himself as an NHL player.

"The Lightning got someone who I think can be a really strong second-line centre who is versatile and can play the wing,” said Button. “He doesn’t have to be a top-line centre in Tampa Bay and will fit in beautifully because he’s so smart, so competitive, and so complete.”