Thursday, 17 September 2015

Which young forward can win a job with the Canadiens

There's lots of buzz regarding junior graduates Nikita Scherbak and Mike McCarron.  The latter had a strong showing at the Rookie Tournament in London, proving that his game is more suited to live 'real' action than scrimmaging against teammates.

Charles Hudon also caught the eye at the Rookie showcase.  RDS analysts Mario Tremblay and Gaston Therrien claimed that he practically wasted his time there, so above the competition was he.  They also praised his professional attitude, the way he handled the media, his maturity.

The natural question to ask is which of these youngsters can/will win a job with le Grand Club in October.  Earlier this summer, there seemed to be holes in the roster, jobs for the taking in the Top 9, but the recent additions of Alex Semin and Zack Kassian, even the news that Thomas Fleischman is getting a tryout, makes the likelihood much more remote that one of the youths can stay in the NHL out of camp.  But still we wonder...

I tend to put all these young guys on an even very-slim footing to win a job out of camp, they’ll have to blow the socks off the management and coaching staff.  Before July there was opportunity, now the kids have to be King of the Mountain to get a chance.

As a prudent armchair-GM who loves to stockpile picks and prospects and never wants to give up any of them in trades or otherwise, I think of the waiver status as a primordial factor. Frontrunner Sven Andrighetto can be sent to the AHL without having to go through waivers, same with Charles Hudon, so I suspect that’s where they end up.

Michael Bournival though is waiver-eligible, so I think he’ll at least start the season in Montreal, he effectively has a roster spot that’s his to lose, the left wing fourth-liner slot vacated by Brandon Prust. If he has a good camp or better, and doesn’t get his doors blown off by another youngster, he’ll be on the 23-man roster. The Canadiens won’t want to lose him, they won’t risk him on waivers.

The other waiver-eligible players like Christian Thomas or Morgan Ellis, I don’t think are a big risk to be claimed, or are an asset that the organization isn’t prepared to risk on waivers, so they get sent down. If they get claimed so be it, but more likely they sail through and we keep working with them.

Maybe the special cases are the ‘worthy’ vets like George Holloway and Mark Barberio. These guys have to go through waivers, they’re more likely to be claimed, and be seen as a loss. A strong camp may make them indispensable, you’d want to keep them, but then the numbers wouldn’t work, they’d bump someone else down like Monsieur Bournival or Jarred Tinordi, and obviously that can’t happen.

That’s when Marc Bergevin would have to pull another one of his trades out of his hat and resolve the numbers, get an asset back for some of these guys instead of outright losing them.

And Sven I think very favourably of now, after two AHL seasons and definite progress, in his physical conditioning certainly, I see him as an early callup candidate.

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