Thursday, September 8, 2011

Canadiens Release Rookie Camp Roster

Ladies and gentlemen, hockey is back in Montreal! The Canadiens released today a list of the players invited to the team's rookie camp, which begins Monday.

78 Olivier Archambault Left Wing Val D'Or (QMJHL)
36 Alexander Avtsin Right wing Hamilton (AHL)
34 Alain Berger Left Wing Oshawa (OHL)
38 Hunter Bishop Left Wing Hamilton (AHL) / Wheeling (ECHL)
49 Michael Bournival Left Wing Shawinigan (QMJHL)
37 Gabriel Dumont Centre Hamilton (AHL)
64 Olivier Fortier Centre Hamilton (AHL)
73 Brendan Gallagher Right wing Vancouver (WHL)
71 Louis Leblanc Centre Montreal (QMJHL)
90 Philippe Lefebvre Left Wing Montreal (QMJHL)
80 Dany Masse Left Wing Hamilton (AHL) / Wheeling (ECHL)
28 Joonas Nattinen Centre HPK / Espoo (Finland)
60 Aaron Palushaj Right wing Hamilton (AHL) / Montreal (NHL)
43 Ian Schultz Right wing Hamilton (AHL)
54 Dustin Walsh Left Wing Dartmouth (ECAC)
*94 Ben Winnett Centre Michigan (CCHA)
*83 √Čtienne Brodeur Left Wing Lewiston (QMJHL)
*48 Philip Desimone Centre New Hampshire (HE)

40 Nathan Beaulieu Defenseman Saint-John (QMJHL)
84 Darren Dietz Defenseman Saskatoon (WHL)
85 Morgan Ellis Defenseman Cape Breton (QMJHL)
47 Brendon Nash Defenseman Hamilton (AHL) / Montreal (NHL)
86 Joe Stejskal Defenseman Dartmouth (ECAC) / Hamilton (AHL)
42 Jarred Tinordi Defenseman London (OHL)
*55 Olivier Dame-Malka Defenseman Lewiston (QMJHL)
*70 Tony Dehart Defenseman Oshawa (OHL)
*91 Josh McFadden Defenseman Sudbury (OHL)
*89 Jordon Southorn Defenseman Trenton (ECHL)

39 Peter Delmas GOALIE Hamilton (AHL)/Wheeling (ECHL)/Halifax (QMJHL)/Wichita (CHL)
65 Robert Mayer GOALIE Hamilton (AHL)
*87 Robin Gusse GOALIE Rouyn-Noranda / Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

*= Undrafted and unsigned try-out

The first thing that jumps out to me is the exclusion of both Alexei Yemelin and Raphael Diaz from the list. The two defensemen have a number of years each of professional hockey in Europe under their belts, so it seems the Canadiens organization views them as established pros even though it will be their North American rookie debut. Habs fans will have to wait till the real camp opens to get a peek at these much anticipated young players.

Also excluded from the list is Hamilton Bulldogs defenseman Frederic St-Denis, a 25-year old who re-signed with the Canadiens this summer. It seems he's been lumped into the category of career AHL'er with players like Alex Henry.

More players not attending camp are most of the Habs' college prospects, including Danny Kristo and Mac Bennett. With university classes beginning, it is unlikely we see these players until next summer. Acquired by trade over the summer, Michael Blunden will not be at the camp either, but this shouldn't be a surprise given that he has 51 games of NHL experience under his belt already. He is actually well positioned to have a shot at being on the Canadiens' opening night roster if no other players are picked up. In a similar situation but with less experience is Andreas Engqvist, who was impressive as a defensive center in a short cup of coffee with the Canadiens last year and will battle Blunden for a roster spot. Engqvist, 23, was also given a free pass to miss this rookie camp despite having only 1 North American season under his belt. Also of note skipping this stage are trade acquisition Mark Mitera and signee Brock Trotter. And what of Andrew Conboy? If Aaron Palushaj isn't too experienced to be here, why is Conboy? Do they just want to shelter the kids from his heavy hitting? Interesting decisions when you consider players like Danny Masse and Hunter Bishop, guys who most have ruled out in terms of having futures in the NHL, will be on the Complexe Bell ice.

Those that are attending include Montreal's last three first round selections, Louis Leblanc, Jarred Tinordi, and Nathan Beaulieu. Both Leblanc and Tinordi performed rather well in pre-season action a year ago and hope to get another shot, with the former trying to prove he'll earn a job in Hamilton this season.

A number of players seeking contracts have been invited as well, some of whom attended one of the team's development camps over the course of the summer. Falling into this category are Olivier Dame-Malka, John McFadden, and Etienne Brodeur. McFadden received a lot of attention at the last camp and given a lack of depth on D in Hamilton, he seems a good bet to end up with at least an AHL deal.

Another interesting invitee is Philip Desimone, a good friend of Habs forward Max Pacioretty. A former third round draft pick of the Washington Capitals of 2007, Desimone, a 6'0", 190 lbs center, has completed 4 years at the University of New Hampshire, improving his production each year up to a 41 point in 39 games output last season.

5'11" left winger Ben Winnett completed his fourth season at the University of Michigan, where he played last year with Mac Bennett and Greg Pateryn. He was a fourth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2007 and is a two-way player with minimal offensive numbers at the college level (12 points in 40 games last year).

6'2" defenseman Tony DeHart was drafted as an overager in the 5th round in 2010 by the New York Islanders but quickly let go after a final year of junior and a brief 2-game stint in the American Hockey League. He put up solid offensive numbers in the OHL and has shown willingness to drop the gloves when needed.

Lastly, Jordon Southourn is a 6'3" blueliner who was taken in the 4th round by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008. After 4 seasons with the P.E.I. Rocket of the QMJHL, he spent last season with the ECHL's Trenton Devils, scoring 9 points in 35 games but finishing a -13.

The Canadiens also released the schedule for the camp, which includes scrimmages at 5 PM on September 12th, 13th, and 15th.

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