Despite the Habs sending many of their rookies either back to junior or to
the minors, the Habs had a youngster-laden lineup in Quebec City on Friday night
to take on the Hurricanes, a game in which a four goal outburst in the first
period set the tone for a convincing 6-0 win. Here are my thoughts on how
some of the prospects vying for a roster spot played.
Rather than talk about all of the rookies who played, I’ve focused on the
players who have at least an outside shot of making the team.
Michael Bournival: When you keep scoring goals, you can’t be hurting
your chances of sticking around. His forechecking was strong and good
things seemed to happen when he was on the ice. I’m not sure if there’s a
spot for him with Brian Gionta nearing a return to action but he has earned at
least another game if not more.
Sebastian Collberg: It was another quiet contest for Collberg.
He’s okay when he’s around the puck but he wasn’t very noticeable otherwise.
Part of that may be attributed to how his linemates (Desharnais and Pacioretty)
played as both of them had very good games. He probably only had an
outside shot at making the team but he doesn’t look ready just yet (and at 19,
that’s okay; most 19 year olds aren’t NHL ready).
Gabriel Dumont: His first preseason game was quiet and this one wasn’t
much better although he did show more of a spark in the third period.
However, for the most part he was overshadowed on his line by Tarnasky and
Blunden, a pair of veteran AHL’ers. He’s not helping his cause to earning
a roster spot even with his waiver status (he has to clear this season).
Michael McCarron: The Habs’ 1st round pick looks rough around the
edges but he made the right reads without the puck and drove the net with
consistency (and had a good chance in close in the second period). His
skating wasn’t bad for a 237 lb player but it’s clear that it is an area that
will need to be improved upon. McCarron is keeping things simple out there
and that’s a good thing for any rookie.
Christian Thomas: He’s very noticeable with the puck on his stick; I
like his aggression in those situations even though he sometimes tried to do too
much when he had it. I didn’t like his hustle in the transition game as it
was very inconsistent and if he didn’t have control of the puck, he wasn’t all
that visible in the offensive zone. One game shouldn’t make or break
his chances but he didn’t help his cause.
Magnus Nygren: After a shaky first outing, this was a step in the
right direction. I like his poise in the offensive zone; it’s clear that
he is very comfortable with the puck on his stick or knowing where to go to keep
a play alive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in his own end. He
seems to take longer to make decisions in the defensive zone and although it
wasn’t costly in this game against a feeble Carolina forecheck, that will be a
hindrance moving forward.
Greg Pateryn: Confidence is a wonderful thing to have. He didn’t
have it when he was up briefly with the big club last season but he has it now
and made a lot of good things happen. When he has time to tee it up, his
shot is pretty good; it makes me wonder how he only scored six goals in four
NCAA years (he had seven in 2012-13 with Hamilton). With the dearth of
right hand shots on the Habs’ blueline at the moment, he’s making a case to
stick around longer in camp.
Jarred Tinordi: This was his second straight disappointing contest in
my opinion. In a game where the other rookie defencemen took steps
forward, Tinordi was hardly noticeable. He didn’t make any glaring errors
and when you’re fighting for a roster spot, that’s something in his favour but
his physical play is what will make or break his chances of making the team.
Tinordi didn’t bring that to the table in this one (or against the Bruins).
These two teams will meet again on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
Although the full lineups aren’t yet available, veterans Rene Bourque, Tomas
Plekanec, and Andrei Markov will all make their preseason debuts in that