The Habs released their training camp roster on Wednesday and it’s a smaller group than usual due to extra restrictions placed by the league. Nevertheless, 42 players will attend the camp which opens up on January 3rd.
Teams were permitted to only invite 36 skaters to camp with an unlimited number of goalies. Montreal maxed out their skater list so if they were to add anyone over the next few days (which isn’t likely), they would have to uninvite a skater. Their camp roster stands as follows:
For anyone unfamiliar with Lynch, he played in Laval last season on a minor league deal and has already signed an AHL contract for the upcoming season. He’s a depth centre that was used in a variety of roles last year but his inclusion here is a bit puzzling unless it was promised to him as part of his new Laval contract.
With the restrictions on the number of players invited, some skaters under NHL contracts weren’t invited. Those are:
Defence: Josh Brook, Kaiden Guhle (currently at the World Juniors)
Forwards: Alexandre Alain, Cam Hillis, Arsen Khisamutdinov, Michael Pezzetta, Hayden Verbeek, Jesse Ylonen
Out of that group, Brook is probably the most notable absentee and his not being invited suggests that he has slipped a bit on the organizational depth chart. It’s not shocking that several of the rookies aren’t invited and in the case of Ylonen and Verbeek, they could stay overseas for another week or two before being recalled in advance of Laval’s training camp. The AHL announced on Wednesday that they are going ahead with plans for the 2020-21 campaign with a tentative start date of February 5th.
Regular roster rules remain in place for the upcoming season but teams will be permitted to carry a taxi squad of up to six players (minimum of four with at least one goalie). The rules for that are the same as assigning a player to Laval so anyone that is waiver-eligible will need to clear before they can be added to that group.
There aren’t many notable battles to make the roster aside from the usual last couple of forward spots of which recent signees Frolik and Perry will join the battle for. On the back end, assuming Romanov’s spot is all but guaranteed, the top seven is basically already determined unless someone really dominates in camp. But with no preseason games and only two scrimmages to stand out, that will be challenging.
On-ice sessions will begin on January 4th with two groups. Those run through to the day before the start of the regular season so it’s unlikely there will be many (if any) cuts before then aside from some selective waiver manoeuvring. But after a long wait following their exit from the postseason, we’re now a week away from things starting up again which is certainly great to see.