Jérémy Roy’s 2016-17 season was a nightmare, but it didn’t begin as one. The 2015 second round pick skated for team Canada at the World Junior evaluation camp last summer, and even played 17:06 in a preseason game with the San Jose Sharks on September 27.
But the defenseman found himself in Head Coach Peter DeBoer’s office after the game, and was cut from camp to return to the QMJHL the very next day. He began his first season with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, after spending the previous three years with the Sherbrooke Phoenix.
Roy debuted with the Armada three days after skating against the Vancouver Canucks at SAP Center. Roy started slowly with his new team, scoring just three points in his first nine games.
In the tenth game, disaster struck.
Roy missed the remainder of the season, including a potential trip to the World Junior Championships, with the injury to his left knee. It was the third straight season in which Roy failed to play in 60 of his team’s games, after playing in 64 of 68 for Sherbrooke during his rookie campaign in 2013-14.
His injury history, not his skillset, is the biggest concern for Roy moving forward. He was talented enough to be projected a first rounder in 2015, only to fall to San Jose on draft day. When healthy, Roy was productive, scoring 34 points in 45 games in 2015-16 and playing in every situation. Elite Prospects notes that scouts have compared him to long-time Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith.
Roy has the talent to succeed, but as it’s unclear if he will be able to stay healthy, his development is at a crossroads. Hs already completed four years of major junior, and is thus eligible to play for the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL this season. Blainville-Boisbriand already has three overage players, which is the maximum in all of the CHL. 12 of the league’s 18 teams currently have at least one open overage slot, but unless Roy’s QMJHL rights are traded, he’ll begin his professional career this fall.
A healthy rookie campaign with the Barracuda will go a long way towards alleviating concerns about his durability. He’s young and promising enough where there’s still time for him to adjust to the professional game, too. If he can do both in his first pro season, this ranking could look far too low as soon as next season.
But the Sharks can afford to be patient with his development, and they should be, as blue-chip defensive prospects don’t come along very often or easily. Playing a full season with the Barracuda should be the primary goal. Anything else would be icing on the cake.
Name: Jérémy Roy
Age (as of 9/9/17): 20
Last Year’s Ranking: 7
2016-17 Team: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: San Jose Barracuda (AHL)
What we like
All-around game with strong offensive acumen.
What to improve on
Staying healthy, adding muscle for the professional game.
QMJHL highlights are hard to come by, so to get a sense of his abilities, here’s a video of every one of Roy’s shifts in a game during his draft year.