Monday, September 19, 2011

Habs Make First Cuts

As we Tweeted early this afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens announced the first five cuts to their training camp roster today.

The club released try-outs Etienne Brodeur, Robin Gusse, and Jordon Southorn, while assigning prospects Darren Dietz and Dustin Walsh back to the WHL and college respectively.

There are no major surprises with this move, as the club elected to keep most players around due to the large number of guys currently suffering from minor injuries.

While Brodeur had a respectable camp, there are only so many contracts to go around, and he has been outplayed by other forward try-outs in Philip DeSimone and Ben Winnett, both of whom remain in camp.

Gusse did not show much to deserve a longer look with 5 other goalkeepers under contract, though the Canadiens will likely monitor his progress this season for improvement.

Southorn was likely the weakest of all invited players, and there remain a substantial number of defensemen in camp to participate in preseason contests.

As for the two Hab prospects, Walsh is beginning his third year of classes at Dartmouth, so his imminent departure was expected. He showed some flashes of potential during camp with good size and a nose for the net, but will need to improve his skating and stickhandling abilities if he is to develop into a top 6 forward. He will look to better the 10 goals and 20 points he had in 34 games last season.

It is a little surprising to see Dietz cut this early given what a strong rookie camp he had, but as mentioned, there are many many defensemen at camp this year. With Saskatoon's regular season starting this week, he will re-join the club as one of their top defenders.

Amongst those still in camp are five try-out players in defensemen John McFadden, Olivier Dame-Malka, and Tony Dehart, along with forwards Philip DeSimone and Ben Winnett. Dame-Malka and DeSimone have received the biggest praise of the group and should be considered the favourites as potential signees, while Winnett has impressed by scoring 3 goals in his 2 scrimmage games, but was then injured in the second half of his last.

Jacques Martin has yet to announce his final roster for tomorrow night's opening preseason game, but we know that Carey Price will play half of it, Mike Cammalleri is in the line-up, and Max Pacioretty has the night off.

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