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Habs offer tryout to undrafted goalie

The Montreal Canadiens have invited goaltender Robin Gusse to this September’s rookie camp, on a tryout basis. The undrafted, 18-year-old native of Bayonne France ( he has dual citizenship) split last season with the Chicoutimi Saugueneens and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Gusse was picked 17th overall in the 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft by the Saugueneens. In his rookie season, he won the Raymond Lagace Trophy (Defensive Rookie of the Year), and was named to the Q’s All-Rookie Team He was traded to the Huskies in January of 2010.

Gusse was named to the U-18 team for the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Tournament, playing one game for the Gold Medal winning team. It was his second notable international competition for Canada, having played 5 games for Team Canada – Quebec in the 2010 World Under 17 Tournament. One of his teammates on that squad was Habs 2011 pick Olivier Archambault.

He was traded to the Huskies in January of 2010, and had a combined record of 10-18-6 (3.96 GAA, .876 SvPct).

Gusse wasn’t ranked in the top-30 by the NHL’s Central Scouting amongst North American goalies, even though some unofficial polls had him in the late-teens. Playing in Chicoutimi behind top-ranked Chris Gibson though, probably kept him out of the scouting spotlight.

“This is great news. Two years ago, he had an extraordinary season and won the rookie of the year. It’s been harder since then, but with us, he has recovered well,” said head coach and general manager of the Huskies, Andr√© Tourigny, in an interview with the newspaper La Frontiere.

“I thought it was a pity he is not drafted this summer,” he added. “He was judged harshly for his poor start to the season.”

In a 2010 interview with Dan Sallows, Gusse said he patterns himself after Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsbugh Penguins, and relies on his speed and persistence as keys to his success.

Gusse will still have to work hard at this training camp to earn a chance at the pro level. It paid off last season for Peter Delmas, who this time last year was also invited to camp on a tryout, so who knows. Perhaps the Habs scouting system passed him over at the drafy, but have now reconsidered that he’s worth a free second look.

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