Today we take a look John Quenneville's brother David, an undersized, right handed, offensively skilled defenseman from the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL. Let's learn more about the youngest Quenneville brother and see if he could be worth a pick in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
Who is David Quenneville?
David Quenneville was born on March 13, 1998, making him 18 years old. The WHL site list him at 5'8, 181 lbs. The right handed defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta played his youth hockey with the South Side Athletic Club before moving on to the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers. As you can see from his stats below, courtesy of Elite Prospects, he has also accumulated some international experience for Canada at the U17 and U18 levels.
From 2011-14, Quenneville played for the South Side Athletic Club teams, elite AA and AAA youth hockey out of Edmonton. His brother and current Devils prospect, John Quenneville, also came up through the SSAC ranks but they were never on the same teams due to the age difference. Regardless, we can see that David Quenneville always put up a lot of points as a defensemen and even was the captain of the Bantam AAA team in 2012-13. According to Elite Prospects, we know he won the AMBHL Top Defenseman award in 2011-12 and was an All-Star in 2013-14.
A productive youth career led to the Medicine Hat Tigers selecting Quenneville 10th overall in the WHL Bantam Draft in 2013. He made his debut for the club with a single game appearance towards the end of the 2013-14 season. In 2014-15 he finished 9th among rookie defensemen in scoring with 20 points in 66 games. This past season he ranked 10th among WHL defensemen in scoring with 55 points in 64 games.
Quenneville also has experience at the international level, first representing Canada White at the U17 World Championships. In that tournament he wore an "A" and put up 3 points in 5 games. In 2015-16, he represented Canada's U18 side at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament where he had an assist in 4 games in route to a Gold Medal. He had a much better showing this spring with 5 goals and 3 assists in 7 games at the U18 World Championships as he made the All-Star team and led all defensemen in goals.
Where is Quenneville Ranked?
NHL Central Scouting ranked Quenneville 144th among the North American Skaters. The Draft Analyst has Quenneville 90th overall in their latest ranking after a strong showing at the U18's for Canada. Corey Pronman of ESPN ranked Quenneville 57th overall in his Top 100. Craig Button of TSN ranked Quenneville 74th in his March edition of Craig's List.
What Others Say About David Quenneville
Back in April, Chris Dilks of SBN College Hockey noted that Quenneville was a "riser" after a strong showing at the World U18 Championships. Here's what he had to say on Quenneville:
I hadn't seen Quenneville prior to this tournament and this was one of the few Central Scouting rankings that didn't make much sense to me. He's a 5'8" defenseman which means he's going to have to prove he can play, as opposed to a bigger prospect that will get every opportunity to prove he can't play. But he's been so good for Canada on the blue line at this tournament. He's got quick feet and handles the puck really well. He's been a big offensive presence on the Canadian blue line. His defense can be hit or miss--I mean that literally, he threw a couple big hits, but also had some major whiffs. He definitely looks like a strong mid-round pick with the hope that his defense can come around.
With his lack of size, Quenneville is going to have to excel in multiple areas to have any chance as a pro. It's encouraging to read that he moves well and can handle the puck. Though the part about his defense being a weaker aspect of his game is really concerning since it's his primary responsibility and will need to be a strong part of his game given his stature. The good news is that defense can be taught and he will have plenty of time to progress.
Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst also had Quenneville as a "riser" following the U18's. Here's what he had to say:
And speaking of effort, ain’t it something that Canada’s best defenseman at the U18’s wasn’t named Chychrun, Fabbro or Logan Stanley? The distinction belonged to Medicine Hat powder keg RHD David Quenneville (Ranked No. 90), an undersized puck mover with tremendous upper-body strength and an absolute cannon for a shot. But he’s far from just a "fire-and-forget" point man; Quenneville is patient with the puck and uses his shot when it makes the most sense.
For a player that has been towards the middle to bottom of the rankings, I was pleasantly surprised to read that he was the stand out defender for Canada's U18 team. It's also interesting to read that Quenneville has "tremendous upper-body strength" which will help him play bigger than his size and unleash a hard shot.
Going back to SBN College Hockey, Chris Dilks did a comprehensive profile on Quenneville earlier this month. I'm only going to include a few excerpts so I recommend clicking the link and checking out the full post, which includes GIF's. He praised Quenneville's shot, ability to create shooting lanes, poise, and physicality:
Quenneville loves to use his slap shot from the point and he can get it off quickly and accurately.
He's great at using his fake shot to get a defender to commit, then using his lateral quickness to side-step him and get a shot through on net.
An underrated aspect of Quenneville's game that I really like is his ability to handle pressure and make a good play, rather than making a safe play that isn't as effective.
For a little guy, Quenneville isn't afraid to step up in the neutral zone and lay a big hit on an unsuspecting forward, or drop on oncoming forward with a hip check.
Dilks did cite Quenneville's defensive play, north-south skating, and size as areas of concern:
There's a downside to that physical aggressiveness which is that Quenneville isn't always the best at picking his spots and managing his gaps, which sometimes leads to big whiffs and quality chances for the opposition.
He's got a good first step, and moves laterally really well, but he's not going to be a defenseman that gets up and down the ice with ease and is a big threat off the rush.
A great shot, lateral movement, and poise under pressure are the type of things you want to read about from an offensive defensemen. I'm not too concerned about his physical play sometimes putting him and his team in bad positions since that can be ironed out of his game. Hopefully he can improve his skating with more time in juniors.
Here is some of what Corey Pronman of ESPN had to say about Quenneville:
Quenneville has put up big scoring numbers and is one of the more skilled offensive defensemen in this year's draft. He's a very agile skater who can escape pressure well and activate into the attack. His puck moving is exceptional. He thinks the game quickly, has the hands to evade pressure, and doesn't shy away from getting up into the attack. He doesn't have a cannon from the point, but he always finds a way to get it on net and create issues for the opposition. Despite his size, I've seen Quenneville throw an occasional big hit, and he doesn't shy away from puck battles. Defensively, he's not a huge hole due to his IQ, but his size limits what he can do there.
Pronman calling Quenneville "one of the most skilled offensive defensemen" in the draft is certainly high praise. Once again we read that Quenneville is solid under pressure and is comfortable on the puck. Pronman doesn't seem to rate Quenneville's shot as highly as others but does agree that it tends to find the net more often than not. Hopefully Quenneville can utilize his IQ to keep improving his defensive game.
A Little Video
Unfortunately there isn't a ton of video out there on Quenneville unless you're willing to go through a bunch of Hockey Canada highlights. Here's him scoring a goal around the 1:18 in this highlight video of Canada vs. Switzerland from the U18 Championships.
You can also see that he's capable of dropping the gloves if the situation arises from this WHL game:
An Opinion of Sorts
Quenneville's offensive skill is very impressive and certainly makes him stand out among the defenders in this year's draft class. Plus he does have the "NHL bloodlines" if you put any stock into that. While a prospect should never be dismissed just because of his size, it's something you can't ignore. The fact that he is a defender whose defensive game still needs a lot of work is also concerning. With that said the Devils do have 3 picks in the 4th round (101, 102, and 104) and I wouldn't mind if they took Quenneville with one of those if he's still available. He seems like a boom or bust prospect and if you can get him in the mid to late rounds of the draft, then I think it's a worthwhile gamble. I don't think his ceiling is that high but it seems like he could be a bottom pairing guy that's capable of playing effective PP minutes if he pans out.
What do you think of Quenneville as a prospect? In what range do you think he will drafted? Do you hope the Devils get him? How much of a concern is his lack of size in your opinion? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!