Monday, June 1, 2009

Allard heads back to draft

With no deal made by Monday's signing deadline for 2007 major-junior draft picks, the Buffalo Sabres have effectively parted ways with former fifth round selection, Jean-Simon Allard. A forward with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, Allard will re-enter the June draft as a 20-year old. The 6'3, 192-pounder grew some as a player with St. John's in 2007-08, scoring 16 goals and 44 assists for the Fog Devils in their last season on the Rock. That year, Allard skated as a teammate of current Sabres prospects T.J. Brennan and Luke Adam. With the Foggies relocating to Montreal for 2008-09, the team made a splash at the 2008 QMJHL draft by sending Allard up the river to Quebec City in exchange for native son, Angelo Esposito. Allard's debut with Patrick Roy's Remparts was set back when he broke his jaw on the opening day of training camp. After a quicker-than-expected recovery, he got out of the gate fairly well by scoring 12 points (3+9) in his first nine games through mid-October. Despite the nice start, Allard never took full advantage of the talented Remparts roster that featured a total of eight NHL draft picks including offensive minded Mikhail Stefanovich, Kelsey Tessier, and Dmitry Kugryshev. His production cooled as a result, as it would take another 23 games before Allard would net his next 12 points. Toting a finesse approach while often unwilling to go to the tough areas, Allard finished the year with 16-40-56 in 66 games. Regardless of Marek Zagrapan's KHL designs, the free agent signing of Travis Turnbull and the extended look given to flashy speedster Paul Byron provided a bit of foreshadowing for the non-signing. Allard's style may be best suited for European action after one more year of junior, as it's doubtful that a team selects the re-entry at the end of the month.