We’re well into the offseason but it has been a busy week for the Habs
already with several small tidbits of news, ranging from scouting hirings and
potential departures to prospect updates. Here is a summary of what has
happened so far this week, including information on a pair of Austrians that the
club has apparently expressed some interest in.
Churla named Chief Amateur Scout
It was a bit of a surprise on Monday when the Habs announced the hiring of
Shane Churla as their Chief Amateur Scout. Churla has been a scout since
2000, making his debut with Phoenix before joining Dallas in 2005 where he
worked as a regular amateur scout until now. He played 488 games in the
NHL, tallying 71 points and a whopping 2,301 PIMS. You can debate about
whether or not the present team is tough enough but the front office is
certainly bulking up.
Jankowski to Hockey Canada?
Last week, Hockey Canada announced the removal of two employees, former Hab
Ron Tugnutt as their goaltending consultant and Kevin Prendergast as their head
scout. It was reported shortly after Churla’s hiring that Ryan Jankowski,
one of Montreal’s amateur scouts out West, had interviewed to take Prendergast’s
vacated role. Jankowski has been with Montreal since 2010 when his
contract with the New York Islanders (as Assistant GM and Scouting Director) was
not renewed. If anyone’s wondering, no one replaced him; GM Garth Snow
took on the added responsibilities.
Thrower dealt to Vancouver
2012 2nd round pick Dalton Thrower was traded to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants
(his hometown team) in exchange for a conditional 2nd round pick if the
Canadiens assign him back to junior for 2013-14. Thrower just completed
his fourth season with Saskatoon, the Memorial Cup hosts. Like many with
the Blades, it was a down year for him as the blueliner recorded 27 points in 54
games (he had 54 points in 2011-12). As he has completed four WHL seasons,
he is eligible to play in Hamilton next season so it’s no guarantee he’ll suit
up for the Giants. If he does, he’ll be working under the guidance of Ian
Gallagher (Brendan’s father), the clubs’ Strength and Conditioning coach.
Archambault to be released
2011 4th rounder Olivier Archambault will not be signed by the Habs prior to
the upcoming June 1st deadline according to his agent. As a result, he
will re-enter the draft on June 30th. He was slightly better than a
point-per-game player with Drummondville of the QMJHL this year while he also
got into nine games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on a tryout, picking up a
goal and an assist. Daniel Pribyl, Montreal’s sixth rounder that same
year, also needs to be signed by the 1st but it does not appear that he will.
Habs interested in two Austrians
Montreal is one of four teams (the others being Nashville, Edmonton, and
Philadelphia) that have reportedly expressed an interest in a pair of players
that recently suited up for Austria in the World Championships, goaltender
Bernhard Starkbaum and forward Michael Raffl. Starkbaum, 27, played in 46
games for MODO of the SEL last year while Raffl, 24, played in the Allsvenskan
for Leksand. Both players are under contract next season with those club
teams but with the new player transfer agreement finalized, they would be able
to ‘buy out’ the final year of their contracts, similar to what they’re expected
to do with recently-signed Magnus Nygren.