Scouting report from Habs rookie camp - Day 3
This morning Mike Obrand, my friend John, and I took in the Canadiens' rookie camp at Brossard, including the scrimmage.
Last time I broke down a day of scouting at Brossard, I went through each player alphabetically. I'm going to change things a bit this time and break things into categories for a clearer take. The categories will be: great, good, okay, invisible, and poor.
- Charles Hudon was fantastic today, channelling Peter Forsberg twice; to score a goal in gameplay, and in the shootout.
- Magnus Nygren continually impresses me. He might actually have the edge on Beaulieu and Tinordi coming into camp. He's older, a bit more polished, and actually right handed, which the Canadiens need. He also has that bullet shot that's so dangerous. He was the only player to score on Fucale, with a bomb from just inside the right circle.
- Christian Thomas stood out way more today than he did in July. The guy has wheels, and he's crafty enough that he can get lost in traffic. He scored a beautiful breakaway goal and made many really nice plays.
- Jarred Tinordi has taken a big step forward in his game. Part of that is likely playing against younger players, but he's improved his skating and has begun to skate the puck out of the zone, even deking around guys using his reach. He doesn't look like a puck off the glass and out guy anymore. Tinordi was paired with Nygren, and they were very solid together.
- Sven Andrighetto impressed everyone in our group right away, from the drills to the actual game. He wasn't able to notch a goal in the game, but he hustled constantly and created chances. His skating is as good as advertised, he even outraced Beaulieu once, who I consider to be the best skater in the Habs' system.
- Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn were paired together for most of the game, and it was obvious that the two have chemistry. They always knew where the other was, and if one made a mistake the other covered. Beaulieu could have been in the great category if he wanted to, but he was taking it easy a bit.
- Jeremy Gregoire wasn't very noticeable in July, but he sure changed that this time around. His raw skill isn't top end, but he's one of those guys that gets where he wants to go by pure drive. You can see what Timmins and Bergevin saw in him as a late round pick. He's the kind of guy you can tell teammates would go through a wall for, and the guy who scores with 5 seconds left to tie a game. Bergevin loves his character, I'm sure.
- Zachary Fucale didn't have many big tests, but he was the main reason why Team Red won the scrimmage. He stopped shots the other goaltenders just weren't stopping, and the rebound control difference between him and the others is a large gap.
- Peter Delmas was sharper than I've ever seen him today, and when Team White really started pushing in the second period, he only allowed Hudon to beat him.
- Morgan Ellis displayed why he's still a solid prospect. His game doesn't have panic in it, and he's good at everything, even if he's not great at anything. He had some offensive opportunities, and many good defensive plays. He should benefit from a healthy training camp.
- Stefan Fournier was a physical presence and looked like he could create some offense too. It's pretty obvious what the Habs see in him. He's going to help the Bulldogs this year quite a bit.
- Tanner Eberle is tough to evaluate. He scored another two goals in the scrimmage today, after two the day before, but his junior numbers at 19 years old are very underwhelming. He drove the net hard and was rewarded though. Still not entirely sure what to make of him.
- Michael Bournival showed his usual hustle, but he couldn't get as much going as you would expect. By no means did he play poorly, but he was getting keyed on pretty well. He still had some nice plays on the boards though.
- Connor Crisp was also kind of tough to evaluate. A bit slow in decision making, a couple of really, truly awful plays defensively, but also several nice zone entries, once creating a partial breakaway by splitting the defensemen at the blueline.
- Ben Duffy flashes some good skill whenever he has the puck, and can look really dangerous around the net. Very good passer, but still somehow managed to not stand out much from the pack.
- Marcus Hinds surprised me a bit with some smooth skating and solid plays. He never looked out of place but also didn't stand out.
- Michael McCarron made one really nice cut to the outside then drive the net move like Erik Cole used to do, but for most of the game he was just average. I did notice that he had a chance to blast Gervais-Chouinard through the glass and into next week, but he let up, which is probably a good thing since McCarron is a freight train when he wants to be.
- Stephen Macaulay looked like he has the skills to hang at this level, and he works hard on the ice. He, like Fournier, adds nice depth to Hamilton.
- Martin Reway has a ton of skill, and his stickhandling was definitely impressive, but most of his plays weren't working today. He's very good at being slippery, but he was caught with his head down once and got blasted at center ice.
- Michael Condon didn't face much adversity, but he looked okay in net.
- Dalton Thrower was a bit of a mixed bag, making a few really nice plays and being generally solid, but also getting caught out of position once or twice, and icing the puck a couple times as well.
- Drew Schiestel was the typical guy with nothing to lose at camp. He's 24 and wants to make the show, so he tried to be as flashy as possible. Most of the time it actually worked, but he didn't accomplish much.
- Christopher Festerini wasn't actively awful, and since he's a goalie he can't really be invisible, so he gets to slot in here even though he didn't do much to deserve it.
- Eric Nystrom wasn't a huge standout talent, but he made nice, subtle plays all game and made very few mistakes.
- Tim Bozon was the most surprisingly invisible guy to me. Often in the neutral zone his feet weren't moving, and while his skill is clearly there, he wasn't getting the job done.
- Patrick Holland was also fairly unnoticeable. He made one slick pass in the first period, then kind of faded into the ether.
- Kyle Beattie wasn't bad, but I kept having to remind myself that he was there.
- Matthew Boudens may not have played. I think I remember seeing his jersey but I can't be sure. That's probably all you need to know.
- Stefan Chaput had a couple of nice shots but unless someone gets him the puck in the offensive zone, he's just not noticeable. He was also covered far too easily for the oldest player at the camp.
- Justin Courtnall is the nephew of Russ Courtnall. I knew that going in and that's still what I know.
- The most noticeable thing about Joel Gervais-Chouinard was that from far away he looked a bit like Louis Leblanc.
- Matt Grassi played. That much at least, can be said.
- Maxime Gravel had one nice hit, and has an awesome name.
- Jonathan Narbonne... who?
- Darren Dietz may have just had a bad morning, but he did not look like someone who was capable of challenging Ellis for a job. He was very jittery with the puck and put a lot of wrist shots off of players two feet in front of him.
- Steven Quailer scored a nice shootout goal, but during the scrimmage he looked out of sorts. Weird decision making was rampant, including a head down backwards skating pass reception at the opposing blueline that could have got him killed in the NHL.
- Brady Vail, boy was I disappointed in him. I've liked Vail's profile since he was drafted but today was ugly. Mike and I noticed a bunch of times that he would avoid contact where it was necessary to make the right play, causing turnovers for his team. When given a chance to play with good linemates in Duffy and Thomas, he added nothing to the line. Very bad day for him.