Last year, after a summer of guessing on who would be Shea Weber’s partner, the Montreal Canadiens opened camp with Victor Mete alongside the veteran. And while many thought it was a temporary position, Mete opened the regular season in that very spot.
This year, there was no such surprise, but Paul Byron being healthy enough to start camp is a pleasant occurrence for the team and it does increase the urgency for forwards vying for a spot in camp.
The team, as it is every year, was split into three groups. Two groups of players fighting for a spot with the Canadiens and a third group of minor-league players bound for AHL camp with the Laval Rocket.
Here’s how camp is split, which also gives us an idea of how the team will be formed for the pre-season games.
(Note: The picture gets cut off, for the full list, click the image)
The big question marks going into today were the line combinations among NHL-bound players, and where the prospects fighting for a job would place.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi lined up with Nicolas Deslauriers and Artturi Lehkonen, Tomas Tatar skated with Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault and that seems to be the line that Claude Julien will at least start the pre-season with. Hunter Shinkaruk was also with a pair of NHL players in Tomas Plekanec and Charles Hudon.
On defence, Victor Mete was with Noah Juulsen while David Schlemko was with Karl Alzner.
Tatar - Danault - Gallagher
Deslauriers - Kotkaniemi - Lehkonen
Shinkaruk - Plekanec - Hudon
Chaput - de la Rose - Froese
Teasdale - Belzile - Bitten
Mete - Juulsen
Alzner - Schlemko
Despres - Sklenicka
Valiev - Lamarche
And here’s how Team B lined up:
#Habs Trios du groupe B— Guillaume Lefrançois (@glefrancoisLP) September 14, 2018
Benn - Petry
Reilly - Lernout
Ouellet - Brook
Moravcik - Fleury
(The Canadiens article had Domi at C, but it seems that it is Drouin in the middle)
Shea Weber, Hayden Verbeek, Michael Pezzetta, Matt Taormina, Jarret Tyszka, Scott Walford, Jake Evans and Andrew Shaw were the players who did not skate with the main group due to injury. But Shaw did skate with Taormina and Walford in the morning before their teammates had practice.