The Road Less Travelled: Jonathan Aspirot’s journey to the AHL

Jonathan Aspirot did it the hard way. 

From the 4thround 69thoverall in the 2015 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft, to the Moncton Wildcats line up as a forward, to a game changing hard nosed gritty leader and two-way defencemen, Jonathan Aspirot’s journey to professional hockey is now complete.

The dream has come true. 

Photo Credit @QMJHL

The Ottawa Senators have signed the twenty-year-old free agent defender to a two-year American Hockey League contract. 

Jonathan Aspirot took advantage of every opportunity on the road less travelled to reach his dream. He did it the hard way, that’s what makes his unscripted journey to the pro ranks so special.

(Originally Published on 11/18/16)

Taking Advantage of an Opportunity: Jonathan Aspirot

The transition into the QMJHL can be daunting for any young player especially when asked to change their position two weeks into training camp.  For Jonathan Aspirot, the transition to the forward position has been seamless. 

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Aspirot reported to the Moncton Wildcats training camp in late August in great shape. The 6ft, 193 pound defensemen from Mascouche, Quebec was poised to make an early impression in hopes of landing a spot on the Cats blueline. The young defender didn’t look out of place during the 1st annual QMJHL Hub City Showcase.

The young mobile blueliner, possessed a good first pass coming out of his own zone and didn’t shy away from the physical aspects of the game.   Aspirot’s offensive instinct and physical style of play lead him to take chances through the neutral zone.  A risk taker, Aspirot’s  gap control and willingness to step up in the neutral zone was definitely uncharacteristic for a young “d” man but was a cause for concern.   It became clear that if Aspirot wanted to crack the line-up as defensemen, his play with the puck and away from the puck needed to tighten up.  

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

The Moncton Wildcats organization and coaching staff definitely deserve a lot of credit identifying Aspirot’s upside.  The Wildcats identified Aspirot’s potential rather than focusing on his weaknesses and made the decision half way through the rookie tournament to covert him to a forward. 

Throughout the preseason it was evident that “The Aspirot Experiment” was becoming a reality.  His consistency and heavy 200ft accountable style of play perfectly fit Coach Darren Rumble’s system.   Aspirot is a staple on the Rumble’s energy line and through 21 games has 3 goals and 3 assists while racking up 14 PIMs.  

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Aspirot’s compete level and work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed on the 2016-17 edition of the Moncton Wildcats.  The seventeen-year old has developed into reliable penalty killer and provides an element of size and grit to the young Wildcats line up.  The Quebec native’s transition into the league is noteworthy given the fact that he’s still learning and adjusting to the forward position.  

Jonathan Aspirot’s willingness to accept and embrace his new role with the Moncton Wildcats showcases his overall skill set, but more importantly his character both on and off the ice.  Aspirot’s journey to the QMJHL is a perfect example of a young player taking full advantage of an opportunity.

Three Years in the Making, but a Lifelong Dream 

Jonathan Aspirot’s journey to the professional ranks could be written as a Hollywood script.  

From all the ups and downs, to plot twists and turns Jonathan Aspirot’s character was truly revealed throughout his three-year journey with the Wildcats.

Aspirot accepted playing a different position to remain in the QMJHL during his rookie season just to secure a roster position on the team.  

That’s character. That’s sacrifice. That’s Jonathan Aspirot. 

The quiet soft-spoken shy kid from Mascouche, Quebec just simply came to play, night in night out. 

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis
https://t.co/bGlWpbXT6C?amp=1

It didn’t really matter what position or role he was thrust into, the one constant in the Wildcats line up was Jonathan Aspirot. 

From a fourth line energy player and penalty killer to a mainstay on the blueline, to a leader and trusted captain, Jonathan Aspirot’s character, compete level and passion for the game was revealed every time he stepped on the ice. 

Aspirot accepted, adapted, embraced and worked tirelessly to fulfill any role he was given to help the Cats win. 

That’s the true essence of character and leadership. 

Aspirot not only adapted quickly, he excelled in every situation meanwhile proving all the critics wrong. 

The journey to the pro ranks maybe complete, but you can guarantee that Jonathan Aspirot will never forget all the attributes responsible for fuelling his journey to the pros. 

Resiliency, adaptability, character and an unwavering work ethic.

That’s Jonathan Aspirot.

In 208 career games in the QMJHL with the Wildcats the solid two-way defender amassed 82 points. 

“We have closely watched Jonathan work towards his goal of playing professional hockey,” said Ottawa Senators Chief Amateur Scout Trent Mann. 

Photo Credit Ottawa Senators

“We feel he brings high compete, character and good hockey sense to the ice.” 

“We are very happy to have him join the Senators organization,” Mann added. 

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