Photo credit: Tami Quan
For the second year in a row, the NHL Draft will be held virtually, this time on Jul. 23 and 24. This year, there are nine current, former and future BCHL players that made NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.
Leading up to the draft, we will be speaking with the prospects to get their thoughts on the process and variety of other subjects.
The BCHL’s 2021 NHL Draft coverage is presented by Chevrolet.
Like most hockey players across the world, Joaquim Lemay’s first season in the BCHL was unlike any other. However, that did not stop the Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman from having a productive year.
In the extended training camp season in the fall, Lemay notched a goal and five assists while playing in all 13 of his team’s games. When it came time for the pod season, Lemay was ready for action again, chipping in with 10 assists in 15 contests.
Despite not being able to play as many games as he would in a normal year, the 18-year-old managed to get himself on the draft radar and ended up being ranked as the 224th North American skater by NHL Central Scouting on their final rankings.
Lemay will be back for his second season in Salmon Arm next year, but before then, we caught up with him to discuss the draft, his relationship with the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he’s committed to play his NCAA hockey and much more.
BCHL: This is your second year of draft eligibility. Has this been on your radar much the last couple years?
Lemay: I talked to some teams last year, but you never really know. Of course, I was thinking about it and hoping for the best. I never really knew if it was or not.
BCHL: Is it something you let yourself think about during the season? Or do you do your best to block out that noise?
Lemay: The scouts do a pretty good job of not talking to you on game weekends. You do think about it and sometimes you know when scouts are in the building, but you just try to focus on your preparation and what the team needs to do to win. It kind of just goes away and then you don’t really think about it.
BCHL: How much do you think the pod season helped your draft prospects?
Lemay: I think it might have helped. It had been a while since I last played games before that. I didn’t play as many games the year before because of COVID as well. The more games you play is always good in these times with so many leagues not getting to play.
BCHL: Your teammate in Salmon Arm Noah Serdachny is also ranked by Central Scouting ahead of the draft. What can you say about his game?
Lemay: I don’t want to say I was surprised, because I knew how good he could be, but I think he played at a really high level. I was pretty excited to see how good he was during the pod. His hands and his scoring abilities are really high. Playing with him on the power play and at five-on-five, he’s always open for a pass and he sees the play really well. It was fun to play with him.
BCHL: You’re committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. What has your relationship been like with the staff there since you committed?
Lemay: The coaches talk to me pretty often. Sometimes they send me video on stuff I can work on or good things I did in a game. Sometimes they send things that they do over there to show me what they’re doing right now. It can be anything about hockey, practice or community stuff that they do. They’re really close with me and with the other players.
BCHL: If you were speaking to an NHL general manager who was thinking of selecting you, how would you describe your game and how would it translate to the pro level?
Lemay: I’m a two-way defenceman. I can breakout the puck either with a good pass or beat the pressure. I can make some good offensive plays too, but I’m responsible defensively. If you talk about pro hockey, I think I would bring the same thing that I can bring right now. I bring a lot of offence and tape-to-tape plays from our zone to go to the offensive zone.