The Barracuda made two long-awaited signings official today, announcing that the team had locked up winger Jeffrey Truchon-Viel and defenseman Thomas Grégoire to multi-year AHL deals. Both signings were reported back in May by TVA Sports (English translation here) and Grégoire’s own Instagram account (now set to private), though the Barracuda did not announce the signings until this afternoon.
Viel comes to San Jose after captaining the Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The 21 year-old’s 10 points in four Memorial Cup games landed him second in scoring behind only the tournament MVP, Regina’s Sam Steel.
Despite his overager status, Viel has proven that his leadership qualities go far beyond what he says in the locker room. He landed third in Acadie-Bathurst scoring during the regular season with 62 points, while his 23 points in the QMJHL playoffs ranked first among Titan players.
But for the Barracuda, Viel’s point totals are just one aspect of what the team feels he’ll bring to the table. The 6-foot-1 winger plays a hard nosed, grinding game that fits the AHL perfectly. Viel can win puck battles and set up linemates on one shift, before breaking up an opponent’s chance in the defensive end on the next.
His resume as a captain could also come into play with the 'Cuda. Veil’s mentorship of top prospects the likes of Noah Dobson and Antoine Morand is something that San Jose will want in 2018-19, with Sharks draft picks like Rudolfs Balcers looking to take the next step in their development.
Thomas Grégoire has spent the last four years in the QMJHL with the Sherbrooke Phoenix, where he led the club in scoring as a defender for the past two seasons, including 64 points last year. His skills as a playmaker earned him a call from the Barracuda after the Phoenix’s season ended, signing a ATO with the team before their opening round playoff series against the Tucson Roadrunners.
The 19-year-old brings a much needed offensive presence to the 'Cuda blue line, especially with the promotion of Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan to the Sharks last season and the trade of Julius Bergman to the Senators last month. Grégoire could see a lot of minutes right off the bat next year in the team’s top four and as a potential setup man on the power play.
Much like Viel, the 5-foot-11 Sherbrooke native has leadership experience as an alternate captain of the Phoenix that could make him a valued member of the Barracuda. But because of Grégoire’s age, he might not take on that sort of role for another couple seasons.