Thursday, 17 September 2015

58 players at Canadiens camp? Isn't that a lot?

A few seasons ago under Jacques Martin, with a wonky pre-season calendar with lots of back-to-back games, the Canadiens had a lot of players at training camp, to have some audition for jobs in the AHL, sure, but mostly so they could fill out rosters for the exhibition games.  They last couple of games all the vets were brought together to cohere, but the results suffered, they never seemed to gel or get off on the right foot, and a poor start to the season was the result.

Now, that team wasn't very good, productive training camp or no, it would still have lost more than its share of games, but the resolve was expressed plainly: in the future, training camp would be about getting ready for the season.  It wasn't going to be about developing kids or tryouts or giving fans a show during exhibitions.

Add to that the fact that the Canadiens are now a league power, there really aren't many spots on the roster in question, so you'd expect the team to have a lean camp, and send all the youngsters to the AHL camp but quick, save for a few exceptional cases.

That may still come to pass, but for now there are 58 players invited to the training camp. (!)

On top of the mild surprise that Daniel Audette got sent down to junior before camp, there are a few interesting factoids while scanning the roster.

Noah Juulsen is listed as attending. Not sure if he’ll be cleared from his concussion in time though, he already missed the Rookie Tournament.

Nicolas Blanchard, Markus Eisenschmid, Angelo Miceli and Jamal Watson are invited players, along with Thomas Fleischman. That’s far fewer than in recent seasons.

Oh, Michael McNiven is also there, the big goalie who did well at the rookie camp.

Stéfan Fournier listed at 6’3″ and 226 lbs. He may not have a great camp, but he definitely won’t be invisible. Hope that he avoids injuries and can contribute in St. Johns, this will be his third season in the minors.

Only four players on AHL contracts, Brandon McNally, Travis Brown, Josiah Didier, and Eddie Pasquale. Again, better depth in the farm system, Canadiens draftees will pick up most of the slack, compared to previous seasons.

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