On Monday, the Montreal Canadiens announced the first round of cuts from the team’s roster. Players not making it past the first cut are: Jimmy Bonneau, Jaroslav Halak, Maxim Lapierre, Francis Lemieux, Duncan Milroy, Jeff Paul, James Sanford, and Cory Urquhart. These players will now report to training camp with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hamilton’s camp opens later this week.
As expected, there were no real surprises in the first round of cuts. Being a first round cut has become a regular event for Duncan Milroy, as it is the fourth time he has been cut this early. However, Milroy is still only 22 years old and has only played one full season in the AHL. Keep in mind that Michael Ryder was still struggling in the ECHL at that age, so it is too early to say that Milroy is no longer in any of Montreal’s plans. With a number of Bulldogs likely to be in Montreal this season, playing time and roster spots will be open in Hamilton.
The most notable player to make it past the first cut is defenseman Kevin Lavalee. Lavalee was granted a training camp invitation after being a finalist on the realisty TV show Bell: Making the Cut. According to most spectators, Lavalee looked very out of place during Canadiens rookie camp, but team management has said that Lavalee survived the first cut on his own merits.
Montreal next takes to the ice on Tuesday against defending Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. In a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference semi-finals, highly touted draft pick Guillaume Latendresse will make his Canadiens debut. Also making their first appearance of the pre-season are Richard Zednik, Saku Koivu, and Alex Kovalev, the line which carried the Habs to the great comeback in the series against Boston.