David Quenneville broke the Medicine Hat (WHL) franchise record for points by a defenseman this spring as he wrapped up a stellar Tigers career that included three consecutive 50-point seasons. His final season included a ridiculous 26 goals and 54 assists.
What does that mean for his pro future? Still to be determined, of course. He’s not projected to get anything like the kind of power play time he got in juniors, where his back door one-timers were lethal as he sneaked down from the blueline. But he was quite productive at even strength, too (see Travis’ note below).
Still, he’s listed at 5’9 and under 200 lbs., yet isn’t the hyper-mobile butterfly type you’d associate with a defenseman of that size in the NHL.
That helps explain why he was a seventh-round pick by the Islanders, and was only signed at the end of the season despite piling up more WHL gaudy statistics.
But smart players look for ways around their weaknesses. Where there’s ability and brains, there’s always some hope that a player can make it all the way, even if he doesn’t “look the part” of what we expect from higher-end prospects.
Quenneville received a brief ATO debut at the end of the AHL season with Bridgeport this spring. This season he’ll get an opportunity to launch his AHL career and prove his doubters wrong.
Quenneville ends up at 16 on our Summer 2018 Top 25 Under 25 countdown (technically he and Ruslan Iskhakov tied for 16th with identical aggregates, but we’ll give the community vote the tiebreaker). Here’s how each voter ranked him, including the LHH community-wide vote (15th), with a little on what some of us said about our votes:
Quenneville was right up there with Sergachev (TBL), Provorov (PHI), and Girard (COL) for 5v5 points-per-game as a CHL defenseman at 18 years old from 2015 / 2016 drafts.
At 5’8” he will have difficulty breaking into the NHL, but don’t be surprised if he makes a big splash as an AHL rookie, after amassing 314 SOGs in the WHL this past season.
David Quenneville is one of the more underrated Islanders prospects. He’s really rounded out his game solidly and could be a solid bottom pairing defenseman. He doesn’t do anything particularly well, but has no huge faults to his game either. He could wind up being a Thomas Hickey, but he could also wind up being an Aaron Ness.
Very productive at every level despite being, well, Iskhakov-sized. It’s really not easy for a defender to make it in the NHL with Quenneville’s stature. With so many others in the pipeline, he may not get that shot with the Isles.
You can’t help but notice Quenneville’s WHL stats, but his size (5’8) and his lack of foot speed are not a good combination when it comes to projecting a prospect’s chances of panning out in the NHL.
Previously on the Summer 2018 Top 25 Under 25
- #17 Ruslan Iskhakov brings skill, not size, to UConn
- #18 Athletic but inconsistent young goalie Jakub Skarek
- #19 Skill and size but speed questions for Otto Koivula
- #20 A make or break year for Michael Dal Colle
- #21 Questions about Anatoly Golyshev
- #22 New left wing Blade Jenkins
- #23 Switzerland’s Yannick Rathgeb
- #24 Young Finn Robin Salo
- #25 Solid defenseman Kyle Burroughs
- The Roster Cuts