LEWISTON — “Mr. Irrelevant” is a term used in the sports realm to label the final player selected in a particular sport’s draft.

This year’s Mr. Irrelevant in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is Jamie Heselton, drafted by Drummondville at No. 212 overall, 18th in the 12th round.

Often, fans will assign that tag to their favorite team’s draft list, too. In sports with a multi-round draft, save the NBA, later-round selections are often subjective, and less likely to pan out into a solid, high-level prospect.

Some teams in the QMJHL even choose not to draft a player in the final round or two (neither Acadie-Bathurst nor Shawinigan selected in the 11th or 12th rounds this June).

Marc-Antoine Rousseau can thank the Lewiston Maineiacs for making his month of June a bit happier. Rousseau was the Maineiacs’ final selection of the draft, No. 199 overall, the third pick in the 12th and final round.

Just don’t call him irrelevant.

“We all come to camp with a chance to make the team,” Rousseau said in his native French. “It’s my dream to make it into this league and I’m here to try and force the team to take me by giving 100 percent all the time and doing my best.”

Rousseau is one of only 44 players invited to the Maineiacs’ training camp this week, and while he’s trying out to be one of 13 or 14 forwards retained by the team in what is projected to be Lewiston’s most competitive camp ever, the coaching staff has assured him — and every one of the players who’ve shown up this week — that he has as good a shot as anyone else.

“There have been a few late-rounders that have already impressed us,” Maineiacs’ coach Don MacAdam said. “We’re taking the best possible players in camp, period. That’s something we can’t stress enough.”

Rousseau, 17, is one of nine players that age drafted by the Maineiacs in the sixth round or higher in June. He is one of 13 17-year-olds in a young training camp, hoping to be one of the next pieces of the Maineiacs’ championship puzzle.

“We have a young group of guys here, but there’s a lot of talent, too,” Shannon said.

Of those later-round selections, two (Tyler Piercy and Charles Grant) are goalies. Both of them are here, and Grant even said at the draft that he’d make the team, given the chance.

“That’s the kind of attitude we like to see in our players,” MacAdam said.

Of the other seven, Connor Brickley and Derek Henderson were no-shows, ostensibly to maintain their NCAA eligibility, leaving five drafted 17-year-olds in skating positions.

Each and every one of them has a shot, along with all five 16-year-old skaters the Maineiacs drafted this June.

And while it may seem far-fetched that someone drafted so low might actually contribute, consider this: Steeven Jacques, who played a regular shift with Lewiston last year, was a seventh-round selection.

And Jacques isn’t the only one. Marc-Andre Daneau, the team’s captain two seasons ago, is a former eighth-rounder, while sniper Eric Castonguay came from the ninth go-round in 2004. David Perron, argueably the most successful former Maineiac, was a sixth-round pick in 2006, and Marc Bourgeois came from Round 10.

That’s good news for the likes of Rousseau, Mathieu Brisebois, Julien Houle and a host of others this week at camp.

“Whether we are drafted in the first, sixth or 12th rounds, we all come to camp equal,” Houle said in French. Nothing is determined yet and we have to go out there and show them what we have.”

Marc-Antoine Rousseau was the Maineiacs’ final selection of the draft.

Julien Houle, a late round draft pick for the Maineiacs, skates during a scrimmage game on Wednesday night.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.