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Remparts: the Russian who makes the Sabers salivate

Ramparts: the Russian who makes the Sabers salivate


The Buffalo Sabers are beyond thrilled with the development of Remparts defenseman Vsevolod Komarov and believe what we're seeing right now is just a tiny part of the hockey player he could become.

“As an organization, we're very pleased with the progress he's made,” Sabers director of player development Adam Mair said in a phone interview with Le Journal. You watch him play and you have no choice but to tell yourself that he is barely touching his potential right now. He is a big player, smart with the puck and who plays very calmly. It is used in all situations by Patrick [Roy], which is a good indicator. »

The 18-year-old Russian is a fascinating case for the Remparts this season. He first landed a few weeks late last year due to visa and COVID-19 issues. 

Komarov then completed a very respectable first season in America du Nord in which he had 20 points in 60 games before being claimed in the fifth round, 134th overall, by the Sabers in the last draft in Montreal.


This season, the progress has been notable from the first day and Patrick Roy has not failed to praise it several times since the start of the season.

“There must be NHL teams who are biting their fingers right now because it's absolutely beautiful to see him play,” Roy mentioned on February 3 after a victory for the Remparts against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

And it's not the Sabers who will complain.

“You really see a player who is just starting to develop and be comfortable in North America,” adds Adam Mair, a former Sabers player himself. Physically, he still has a lot of progress to make.

This is among other things what makes the Sabers salivate at the moment. 

If Komarov already excels at the junior level because of his sense of the game and his ability to get the puck out of his territory with efficiency, he still weighs only 188 lbs. at the height of his
6 ft 3 in.

“He has a good physique, but he's still a very young player who is in the early stages of his physical development. One of the things he needs to keep working on is his skating and we really believe that will come from gaining strength, both in the legs and in the core muscles. He is a dedicated youngster and he does everything possible to gain physical strength. »

In fact, a year before claiming Komarov in the fifth round, the Sabers had also set their sights on a Remparts player during the same round. 

In 2021, they selected striker Viljami Marjala 159th overall.


Marjala left the Remparts at the end of last season and spent the majority of the season with the under-20 program of TPS Turku, Finland, where he scored 48 points in 31 games.

“He started the season with the men and it was a good fit for him. So he played a lot of games with the junior team where he was very productive. For a little over a month, he has been making his place with the senior team and he is doing a good job,” summarized Mair.

♦ In 13 games with the TPS Turku in Liiga, the winger scored seven points.


Injured Nathan Gaucher takes his troubles patiently 

Nathan Gaucher wrestles with an opponent from the Moncton Wildcats, Saturday, February 4 , at the Videotron Center.

Nathan Gaucher was only expected to miss a few days of action when he suffered a groin injury against the Drummondville Voltigeurs on February 14.

It will soon be a month and the choice of first round of the Anaheim Ducks is still waiting for the green light to join his teammates.

The injury was perhaps a little more serious than the assessment made at the start, but the Remparts above all wanted to play the card of caution with their center player, in order to ensure that he is 100% ready for the playoffs and that there is no risk of him aggravating the injury.

“At first, I was supposed to miss a week, then it was two, then it's been a month. It was difficult for me to prepare to come back and always get pushed back. That's what sucks the most, but it's important to stay mentally strong. The good news is that I feel better than when I started,” he said this morning, although he admits to still feeling a little pain.

It would therefore be very surprising for number 91 to play tomorrow night's game against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, even if Patrick Roy had not completely closed the door after Wednesday's game.


That means he should watch the game again from the box reserved for injured and reserves, with his teammate James Malatesta recovering from a broken foot.

“It's long, and it's boring! he laughs.

Especially since his team has gone through a difficult streak since his departure in which they have lost five of their last seven games.

“It's a little frustrating, but at least we're showing a good relentlessness and we manage to get back into the matches. It proves that we will be able to do it in the playoffs. Of course, James and I can't wait to come back to help the team by bringing our physical presence. It's hard to watch and not be able to do anything. »


But Gaucher isn't worried about his team's recent streak and hopes Wednesday night's 2-1 win over the Huskies is the first step toward getting back on the winning streak.

< p>“It was fun walking into the locker room and seeing the smiles on the faces of the guys. It was a bit of a deliverance. It's a difficult moment, but you have to trust yourself. We remain one of the best teams in the league and we have to prove it. »

♦ The Remparts announced today that the first two games of the playoffs will be played on March 31 and April 1st at the Videotron Centre.


Score more goals at five against five 

You can make the numbers say what you want, but some don't lie not to explain the recent streak of failure for the Remparts: the team has scored eight goals in its last four games and, of these, only one has been tied numerically.

The other seven were counted on the power play.

Patrick Roy, head coach

In fact, the Remparts have not scored at even strength since Charles Savoie's goal, at the start of the third period of the March 3 game against the Shawinigan Cataracts.

“In our last five games, we haven't generated a five-on-five attack like we are capable of doing,” admitted Patrick Roy. Am I surprised? No, because our first trio [that of Théo Rochette, Zachary Bolduc and Pier-Olivier Roy] is experiencing a slight drop in speed and that's normal. They dragged the team for a long time. At the moment, it's more difficult for them and we're having trouble getting goals from our support players. »


It is especially at this level that the absence of James Malatesta and Nathan Gaucher, among others, is felt. 

The reality is that the Remparts do not have the same depth in attack as they had last year, when a few veterans like Zachary Gravel contributed on a regular basis despite being used as a “support player”.

This is a danger that awaits the Remparts at the dawn of the playoffs, since they are not immune to other injuries. 

But that does not worry Roy, who has confidence in the core he has been developing since four or five years and to which he added some important elements during the recent period of transactions.

“Our team is built around a core. When we arrived at the deadline, the important aspect was to maintain the chemistry and the role of everyone. It was not written in the sky that Gaucher and Malatesta would fall and that Mikael Huchette would miss almost the entire season. Everything was built according to the series. »

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