Swiss Hockey News today reports that Théo Rochette a Swiss-Canadian undrafted junior player has been invited to the Maple Leafs camp in September. This almost certainly refers to the Traverse City tournament. The Leafs first went to Michigan for this large multi-team event in 2019, but last year’s was cancelled.
The 2021 event will reportedly feature fewer teams and have a reduced format. A look at the local arena schedules indicates a mid-September start for the event. It should finish just before NHL training camps begin around September 20.
Kyle Dubas mentioned on draft day that he would be inviting undrafted players to the event, and Rochette fits the bill. First eligible for the 2020 draft, he has now been passed over twice. For the 2021 draft he was ranked from a fairly unlikely high of 91 by Elite Prospects to 184 by Future Considerations. His NHLSC ranking for North American skaters was 167, which puts him just outside the seventh round. That’s a wide disparity in assessments for a player who actually played hockey in 2021.
Rochette, originally played youth hockey in Switzerland and has played U18 hockey for that country. He then switched to Canada in 2019 after signing up for the QMJHL in 2018. He is listed at a centre, and unsurprisingly with those disparate rankings, he’s 5’10” and 165 lb. He just turned 19 in February.
He had a good 2019-2020 points-wise, with 39 points in 49 games on two teams. He began in Chicoutimi and was traded to the Québec Remparts mid season after reportedly suffering from mono in the early part of that season. Last year on the Remparts he had 30 points in 32 games.
He’s much more of a playmaker than shooter by his results and by scouting reports, and his most recent season is goosed by a shooting % spike on the power play.
As happens a lot with junior players, his usage on the power play changed fairly dramatically from his prior season:
He definitely likes to get near the net at even strength.
Rochette is likely to be the first of many invitees to the camp, since the Maple Leafs are running light on prospects who would be available at that time of the year.
If Rochette was in the QMJHL as an import (unlikely) he could play in the AHL this season, but since he’s just 19 this year, he is likely heading back to junior no matter how he looks to the Leafs.