#21: Philippe Daoust (Reader Rank: 26, Last year: NR)
2020 6th round pick Philippe Daoust makes his debut on our Top 25 Under 25 ranking after an impressive third season in the QMJHL.
Daoust, 20, is one of the more interesting prospects in the Ottawa Senators organization, and could be primed for a breakout year in 2022-23. After failing to stand out in minor hockey and being passed over in the CHL draft, he got an opportunity to prove himself as a free agent with the Moncton Wildcats in 2019-20. He played well enough that the Sens took a chance on him in the sixth round of that year’s draft. Daoust was considered a very off-the-board selection at the time, but has steadily improved every year since.
The offensive-minded centre began the 2021-22 season in Belleville, where he put up just 5 assists in 15 games. He was then loaned to the Saint John Sea Dogs, who had just acquired his rights in a trade. There, Daoust put up 47 points in 38 games, good for 7th in team scoring despite playing significantly fewer games than the teammates ahead of him.
Daoust played an important role in the Memorial Cup playoffs, scoring two goals and an assist in 5 games en route to Saint John’s second championship - the other one being, of course, the one they won with Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph a few years ago. You simply cannot win without Sens on the roster.
His 2021-22 season was impressive enough to earn him an entry-level contract in March. We should expect to see him in Belleville this season. With a few veterans off the roster and a few other players poised to push for an NHL spot, there should be room for Daoust to show us what he can do at the pro level.