The Montreal Canadiens entered into an agreement with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the ECHL, to send players from the Hamilton Bulldogs next season. Last season Hamilton loaned Jerome Marois to the Ice Dogs, when Columbus their regular ECHL affilate could not find room for him. The experience with Marois and the Ice Dogs could have had an impact on Andre Savard the acting general manager of Hamilton and assistant general manager of the Canadiens.
With the loss of the Columbus Cottonmouths, last years ECHL affilate, who had to close doors after some unsuccessful seasons of late, as they decided to fold the team for the next season leaving the Habs with no ECHL affilate to place some of their prospects. With the Ice Dogs, a team that is coming off a rough season where they were near the bottom of their division for parts of the year, hopefully some additional Canadiens prospects will help them turn around the organization next season.
The new agreement will help both organizations, as the Ice Dogs will be sending some of their players to the Hamilton Bulldogs training camp next month, where they will get to train under the watchful eye of Doug Jarvis and work out with some quality AHL players. The Canadiens will also benefit from sending some players to the ECHL if need be, as they will get the chance to see a lot of ice time in a professional league, versus perhaps seeing limited ice time on the 4th line in Hamilton due to the depth of the team with the addition of the Dallas Stars players.
Last year the team sent prospects Matt Shasby, Christian Larrivee, Olivier Michaud, Marc-Andre Thinel, Jerome Marois, and Andrew Archer to the ECHL, where all of them enjoyed successful seasons, while getting a large amount of ice time with the exception of Archer, who spent only one week in the ECHL. It’s still unclear how many players the team will be sending to the Ice Dogs, but that should be determined after Hamilton’s training camp.