The Habs officially announced their training camp roster on Wednesday. A total of 61 players will be attending, including 14 that aren’t directly tied to the team. Here’s a look at each of those invites.
(Players are listed with the team they spent the most time with last year, not necessarily where they finished.)
Antoine Samuel (ATO, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) – Samuel was the second goaltender at the recent rookie tournament although he didn’t fare well, allowing five goals and getting yanked just past the midway mark in his game against the Senators. He’s coming off of his best season in the QMJHL and considering the minor league depth the Habs have, Samuel will basically be trying to make a positive impression for another look next year.
William Corrin (PTO, Brampton, ECHL) – The 26-year-old just completed his first full professional season, spending most of it with Montreal’s ECHL affiliate in Brampton along with a handful of games with the AHL’s Marlies. Corrin is already signed to return to the Beast but a good showing here might get him in the mix for a look with Laval at some point.
Eric Gelinas (PTO, Colorado, NHL) – We’ve looked in-depth at Gelinas’ case already. He’ll be in the mix for a spot on the blueline but given that his lone NHL-quality asset is his shot, he’ll be hard-pressed to land a regular spot with the Habs. If he’s up for taking a minor league deal though, he’d be a useful addition in the minors.
Stefan Leblanc (ATO, Mississauga, OHL) – Leblanc had a nice overage season with the Steelheads and played a big role in them making the OHL finals. He parlayed that into an AHL contract with Laval where he will battle for a 6/7 role as things stand. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him spend some time in Brampton as well this season.
Saverio Posa (PTO, Cincinnati, ECHL) – The undersized (5’10) rearguard has gone through a bit of a different journey to the professional ranks. After playing out his CHL career, he went to the OUAA (a Canadian college level) for two years before turning pro. He recently spent a season in Italy before returning to North America and will be seeking an invite to Laval’s training camp in the hopes of upgrading to an AHL deal (his ECHL rights are with Reading this coming season).
Jordan Boucher (PTO, Clarkson, ECAC) – Boucher wrapped up his college career with a strong senior season in 2016-17 that saw him post 26 points in 30 games. He then finished up the year with AHL Binghamton and is looking to land a minor league deal with the Habs.
David Broll (PTO, St. John’s, AHL) – Broll was on a tryout at this time last year and managed to earn a minor league deal with the IceCaps. Despite not playing much down the stretch, he evidently did enough to impress management as they handed him a one-year extension to play with Laval this season. He’ll likely be in and out of their lineup in a fourth line role.
Kevin Dufour (PTO, Bowling Green, NCAA) – Like Boucher, Dufour wrapped up his college career last year (where he led Bowling Green in goals with 18) before finishing up in the pros with South Carolina of the ECHL. Already 25, Dufour has an ECHL deal in hand with Brampton and will probably stick around for minor league camp and could be a candidate to be recalled (or sign a PTO) when injuries strike in Laval.
Thomas Ebbing (ATO, Michigan State, NCAA) – Ebbing wasn’t particularly productive in his senior year in college as he scored just three goals in 36 games. However, the Habs clearly see something in him as they’ve inked him to a minor league contract already. He was Montreal’s leading scorer in the two games at the rookie tourney as he picked up three tallies.
Maxime Fortier (ATO, Rimouski, QMJHL) – The fact that Fortier has passed through the last couple of drafts unpicked has been a bit surprising. He posted 87 points with the Mooseheads last season (one more than first overall pick Nico Hischier, albeit in 12 more games) and although he’s still 19 for three more months, he is eligible to turn pro this season. A return to junior is still a possibility but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a contract with Laval while the team evaluates whether or not to give him an entry-level deal a year from now.
Alexandre Goulet (ATO, Victoriaville, QMJHL) – Goulet was a prominent scorer in his overage season in 2016-17, leading the Tigres in goals (39), assists (50), and points (89). After they were eliminated quickly in the playoffs, he joined Rochester of the AHL for a trio of games to finish out their season. He’ll likely be around through Laval’s training camp and preseason at the very least as he looks to earn a minor league deal with the Rocket.
James McEwan (ATO, Guelph, OHL) – McEwan is a bit of a different invite compared to players like Fortier and Goulet. While those two have had more success offensively at the junior level, McEwan is more of a two-way forward that is also looking to land a minor league deal. At this stage though, I’d put the odds of him getting one behind the more productive invites.
Niki Petti (PTO, Hamilton, OHL) – Petti wasn’t a big scorer in junior but has a decent two-way game and the Habs clearly see something in him as they moved pretty quickly to get him in St. John’s last season and even gave him some playoff action. He’ll battle for a fourth line spot in Laval this year but could see time in Brampton as well.
Yannick Veilleux (PTO, St. John’s, AHL) – Veilleux was also in this situation last season and was able to land a two-way minor league contract after training camp. He started in Brampton but once he was called up to St. John’s, he was a regular the rest of the way. He has a contract in hand already and has a good chance of starting off in the AHL this time around.