Name: Nathan Légaré
Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Position: Right Wing
Date of Birth: January 11, 2001
Hometown: St-Eustache, Quebec, Canada
Height/Weight: 6’0″, 196 lbs
*Eligible for 2019 NHL Draft*
Areas of Strength
Competitiveness and Intensity
Areas of Weakness
Nathan Légaré, who is rising fast up draft rankings, is a power winger eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. Drafted 6th overall by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the 2017 QMJHL Draft, Légaré made an immediate impact for the club in his rookie season, totaling 29 points through 68 games in 2017-18. Originally touted as a traditional power forward type, Légaré has taken a step away from that traditional mold. He doesn’t have the size or strength to truck towards the net with consistently positive results at the QMJHL level, so he has adapted to a style with less of that physical element while still managing to put his finishing skills to good use. The downside of that change is that Légaré now has an increased reliance on his teammates to get the puck to that net front area for him, since he struggles to do it himself.
A goal-scorer, Légaré has a nose for the net, putting himself in positions where his teammates can get him the puck. In tight around the net, he has excellent finishing skills, able to manipulate the goalie with his hands and find open twine with a quick, precise, and deceptive shot. His shot is also a threat from further out, not so much as a scoring danger, but his powerful slap shot is an excellent generator of rebounds. Légaré loves to hang around the net, and does an excellent job on getting open to receive passes from teammates. He does a good job of getting the puck into a shooting position quickly after receiving it, allowing him to attack the net before the defence can collapse on him.
He’s a force on the forecheck, getting in quickly on the defencemen. As a forechecker, you want to give the opposition as little time as possible to move the puck out of their own zone. Légaré understands this, using his skating ability to put pressure on the defencemen right off the bat, and does an excellent job of taking away options and forcing them towards his teammates.
Légaré is off to an exceptional start to his draft season, making up one-third of a dominant top line for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. With 35 points through 24 games, Légaré is 5th in QMJHL scoring. A good portion of that can be credited to his linemates, Ivan Chekhovich and Gabriel Fortier, specifically Chekhovich, who sits 3rd in scoring with 41 points. It’s evident when watching the trio play that Légaré isn’t the driver in that group. However, he’s still an elite complimentary player at the QMJHL level, and projects as a player that could potentially fit into a top 6 at the NHL level in that same kind of complimentary role.
After this start, Légaré has shot up from a largely unknown prospect to a fringe first rounder. The end of the first round is probably as high as he’ll get on rankings– he seems destined to be a complimentary player, and most scouts prefer players that can create on their own over those that rely on their teammates to do so for them. With that said, Légaré could still hold tremendous value to an NHL team in the future. In today’s salary cap world, teams depend on cheaper, non-elite wingers to pair with their elite players, usually centres. Légaré’s style of play is perfect for this role, and he could have exceptional success as a sidekick to one of the game’s elite. He’s already doing it to a remarkable degree of success in the QMJHL, playing alongside the aforementioned Ivan Chekhovich, a decidedly elite QMJHLer. If that can carry over to the NHL, Légaré will be primed for a successful career.
2016-17 — Saint-Eustache Vikings (QMAAA): 40GP – 20G – 31A – 51PTS – 72PIM
2017-18 — Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL): 62GP – 10G – 19A – 29PTS – 43PIM
2017 QMJHL Draft — 6th Overall Selection