Penguins

Prospect Watch: QMJHL to vote on fighting ban

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Nathan Legare. -- Denis Thibeault / QMJHL

The QMJHL's presidents and owners of its 18 teams were expected to vote on whether to ban fighting in the league on Thursday, but they elected to postpone the vote until August.

To pass a ban on fighting, two-thirds of the league's presidents and owners would need to be in favor of the ban. If two-thirds vote to ban fighting, the ban could take effect as early as next season.

Proponents of the ban aim to limit the number of head injuries in the QMJHL.

The Penguins currently have two prospects in the QMJHL, Samuel Poulin and Nathan Legare, and both will more than likely play in the QMJHL next season as a result of the CHL-NHL transfer agreement that prevents them from playing in the AHL until age 20.

Both players have dropped the gloves before in the league.

Poulin, the Penguins' first-round pick in 2019, recorded his first career fight this season, answering the bell after a hit in a game against Shawinigan:

Poulin quickly pulled the jersey over Jeremy Martin's head, and the fight didn't last very long after officials intervened.

Third-round pick Legare is a little more familiar with dropping the gloves, already recording five career fights in the QMJHL. He has two this season, with the most recent coming on Jan. 31 against Sherbrooke:

He fought twice last season, with the first fight coming in Oct. 2018:

The second fight came a month later:

There aren't videos on the internet of Legare's first career fight at the end of the 2017-18 season, or his fight in October of this season.

If the QMJHL does vote to ban fighting, it's not clear how the rule would be enforced, and what penalties would be levied for dropping the gloves.

Former QMJHL players opposing the ban have been speaking out on social media in recent days. One player who shared his thoughts was former Penguins prospect Zachary Lauzon, who was forced to retire this summer without ever having played professionally as a result of lingering concussion symptoms stemming from a hit in 2017.

"The psychological effect of a possible fight can even mitigate dangerous blows and advocate respect on the ice," Lauzon tweeted in French on Thursday evening.

Here’s how the Penguins’ prospects in juniors, college, and Europe did this week:

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FORWARDS

Judd Caulfield
Position: Forward
Size: 6-4/207
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2019, fifth round
Team: North Dakota (NCAA)
Season totals: 
25 games, 3 goals, 8 assists

Caulfield was scoreless in two games this week.

Liam Gorman
Position: Center
Size: 6-3/196
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2018, sixth round
Team: Princeton (NCAA)
Season totals: 
25 games, 5 assists

Gorman was scoreless in two games this week.

Filip Hallander
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 6-1/190
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Lulea HF (SHL)
Season totals: 
18 games, 4 goal, 5 assists

Hallander recorded two assists in his last four games.

Nathan Legare
Position: Right wing
Size: 6-0/205
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2019, third round
Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
51 games, 27 goals, 30 assists

Legare picked up two assists in three games.

Linus Olund
Position: Center
Size: 5-11/183
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2017, fifth round
Team: Brynas IF (SHL)
Season totals: 
40 games, 3 goals, 7 assists

Olund recorded one assist in three games.

Nikita Pavlychev
Position: Center
Size: 6-8/225
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2015, seventh round
Team: Penn State (NCAA)
Season totals: 
25 games, 6 goal, 6 assists

Pavlychev was scoreless in two games.

Blue White Illustrated published this feature on Pavlychev's relationship with fellow Russian Penn State senior Denis Smirnov.

Samuel Poulin
Position: Wing
Size: 6-1/207
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2019, first round
Team: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
42 games, 32 goals, 42 assists

Poulin scored two goals and four assists in three games.

Valtteri Puustinen
Position: Wing
Size: 5-9/183
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2019, seventh round
Team: HPK (Liiga)
Season totals: 
45 games, 15 goals, 20 assists

Puustinen was scoreless in three games.

DEFENSEMEN

Santeri Airola
Size: 5-11/165
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2019, seventh round
Team: SaiPa (Liiga), Kettera (Mestis)
Season totals: 
2 games with SaiPa; 26 games, 11 assists with Kettera

Airola did not play this week.

Ryan Jones
Size: 
6-2/186
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2016, fourth round
Team: Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
Season totals: 
30 games, 2 goals, 8 assists

Jones did not play this week.

Antti Palojarvi
Size: 
6-1/172
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2017, sixth round
Team: Lukko (Liiga), Lukko U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga), Hokki (Mestis)
Season totals: 
5 games with Lukko; 14 games, 3 assists with Lukko U20; 21 games with Hokki

Palojarvi was scoreless in two games with Hokki.

Clayton Phillips
Size: 5-11/183
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2017, third round
Team: Penn State (NCAA)
Season totals: 
25 games, 2 goal, 7 assists

Phillips has been injured for the last three weeks and is considered day-to-day.

William Reilly
Size: 
6-2/196
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2017, seventh round
Team: Rensselaer Polytech (NCAA)
Season totals: 
30 games, 7 goal, 10 assists

Reilly was scoreless in two games. He spoke in this video about playing his final games as a senior at RPI:

Reilly said he was happy to return to RPI as a senior rather than turn pro a year early.

"It's been great," he said. "I'll never know what it was like to go the other way, but I couldn't be happier with my decision. I think just this year has been great. I've loved every second of it, it's been awesome having the team do so much better than last year and the years before that. I couldn't be happier with my decision."

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