Giovanni Fiore: What's Next For The QMJHL's Breakout Scorer?
The Cape Breton right winger is in the midst of a breakout season and has scored a league-leading 52 goals heading into the start of this week's playoffs.
Fiore's goal-scoring output not only ranks atop the QMJHL this year but also sits second all-time in the 20-year history of the Screaming Eagles, falling one goal short of Cam Fergus' regular-season mark in 2006-07.
Add in his 38 assists this season and Fiore has jetted his named to fifth in overall league scoring and shattered his former career-high, 62-point output (28 goals, 34 assists) from 2015-16, when he split time between the Shawinigan Cataractes and Cape Breton.
Before the start of the 2016-17 QMJHL season, the 20-year-old Laval, Quebec, native skated with the Montreal Canadiens as a training-camp invitee. On a smaller Montreal club, Fiore's 6-foot-1, 194-pound frame helped him stick out in camp.
Fiore was ultimately cut, but that taste of the NHL seemed to be enough to propel him to the forefront of the QMJHL this season.
Cape Breton won five straight to close out the season and looks to build on its momentum against the Gatineau Olympiques in first round of the playoffs.
Fiore will go head to head with Gatineau's Vitalii Abramov, whose 104-point campaign led the QMJHL this season.
The best-of-seven series starts with back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday at the home of the Screaming Eagles, Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Fiore was held pointless through his first two playoff series, going minus-five in a combined seven games split between the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Shawinigan in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively. The following postseason with Shawinigan, Fiore tallied two goals and five points, alongside a plus-three rating.
Last year, Fiore's strong regular season spilled into playoffs, and he registered eight goals and 15 points in 13 games before Cape Breton fell to Saint John in the quarterfinals. Fiore is again looking to lead his team during the postseason but with a much bigger prize in mind this year -- becoming President's Cup champions.
Once Cape Breton's playoff run is finished, Fiore is also likely yield contract offers from a variety of NHL teams, with Montreal certainly in contention, giving him the chance to choose his destiny.
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