by Rick Stephens, AllHabs.net

Photo by Rick Stephens / All Habs

BROSSARD, QC.– It takes a special type of fan to head to the arena to watch a group of prospects in the heat of summer. In June, I met Amelie, a budding photographer who will begin an internship with All Habs in the Fall. On Wednesday, I met Walter who was making his first visit to the Bell Sports Complex.

Walter is a delightful retiree who is a long-standing and knowledgeable Habs fan. He recently moved within walking distance of the Canadiens practise facility. I had an enjoyable afternoon watching the prospects being put through their paces and trading comments with my seatmate.

Die-hard fans were on hand to attend the Montreal Canadiens Development Camp, Part 2, also known as the debut of Nathan Beaulieu. Eleven other players are attending the three-day session but none is as well known nor at the same level as Beaulieu. With only four forwards and eight defenseman in camp, the player to coach ratio is 2-to-1 — Perry Pearn and Trevor Timmins are the most familiar of the guys with whistles and warm-up suits.

It allowed the coaching staff a chance to get a good look at the prospects and helped to maintain a high tempo in the skating drills on Day One of camp. From his Twitter account, Beaulieu tweeted this message before the on-ice session, “Going hard all day in mtl.” And afterwards, the 2011 first-round pick of the Canadiens tweeted only a hashtag “#bagged.”

Day One was all about skating drills. Beaulieu is a smooth skater but will need to increase his power and improve skating backwards. The player who was the most mobile and cruised with ease through the drills was defenseman Mac Bennett.

Bennett completed his freshman year with the University of Michigan growing more confident as the season went on. Chosen in the 2009 draft, 79th overall, Bennett is an offensive-defenseman who relies on his speed and skating ability to create opportunities. His defensive game is still a work in progress.

At camp we see Bennett’s agility and efficient power-transfer in his skating. His all-time favourite player is Mathieu Schneider who was coached by Mac’s dad and became a family friend. Bennett likes the play of Yannick Weber on the current roster of Canadiens, admiring his cannon-like shot.

Quick hits

Etienne Brodeur (LW) — Scoring the most goals (53) in the regular season in the QMJHL earned Brodeur a tryout with the Canadiens. His skating, perhaps the weakest in camp, was a topic of discussion in the gallery but development camp is a good place to diagnose any technical issues. Brodeur has excellent vision and a high hockey IQ.

Josh McFadden (D) — McFadden, from the Sudbury Wolves, was third in scoring by defenseman (72 points) in the OHL just behind Ryan Ellis and Ryan Murphy. McFadden has good speed and the mobility to be a quarter-back for the power-play.

From the Sudbury Star: McFadden earns invite from Habs

McFadden said he’ll just play his game and hope to catch some attention that way at the rookie camp.
“I’m just going to try impress, just do what got me there,” he said. “I just want a chance and see what I can do with it. I could see myself in a Habs jersey.”
McFadden got five other invites from NHL teams, but felt the Canadiens was the best fit.

Do you have a player or issue that you would like All Habs to keep an eye on during development camp? Please tell us in the comment section.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m also curious about how Pribyl looks. Today was probably not the best day to assess his skill set, ut I think he is a potential powerhouse for this team.

    I’d be greatly interested to hear your thoughts Rick.

    • Nice to see some info on picks/prospects.

      Yes, curious about Pribyl and Dietz as well Rick?

      Dietz was undrafted in WHL and supposedly was on 1st PP unit with Blades by end of seaon, so must have progressed very well since last summer.

      Pribyl seems to be another long shot pick, will he come over to play in the QMJHL this fall?

      I have seen a few of Michigan games and Bennett often rushed end to end and pinched in as well, but they just seem to play so few games in a season that hard to judge how he stacks up. Great to hear he looks good at this camp, he is not allowed to attend fall camp is he, as a NCAA player eh.

      McFadden has been noted to have a similar defensive game as MAB (ol #47), is that something that can be tought by the 2 Randy’s in Hamilton? Or will Habs most likely not even sign (way too early to make that call i suppose) ?

      • Thanks Don. Hopefully, you caught my report on Pribyl. It’s unlikely that he will play in the CHL in the Fall, but if so, the ‘Q’ would not be the place to address the current flaws in his game.

        Careful comparing a developing prospect like McFadden with the dreadful defensive game of MAB. McFadden had an adjustment to make in the first half of the season with the Wolves and his defensive game suffered. He deserves credit however for a positive plus/minus number over the second half of the season. He is a teachable player. Also tough to ignore his offensive talents which placed him 3rd in scoring among defenseman in the OHL behind the two Ryans — not bad company.

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