ST. JOHN’S, NL. — To some, Daniel Carr came out of nowhere last season. Since the Canadiens Development camp, it appears hype has continued to build around the undrafted free agent signing from Union College. The native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, attended Union for four years totaling 78 goals in 160 games. He was also named team captain and carried the Dutchmen to their first championship title in school history with a dramatic 5-4 win over Johnny Gaudreau and the favoured Boston College, and then the No. 1 ranked Minnesota in the finals.
The Canadiens were quick to sign Carr and it proved worthy of a contract as he lead all rookie goal scorers in the AHL with 24 goals last year. Carr is out to prove that he was not just a benefactor of playing on the line of the Canadiens top prospect Charles Hudon, and that he made the line better by being there. This season he will play either first line minutes with the IceCaps, or a top six role with the Habs. He does not figure to play the traditional shutdown role of a third line forward, and his eligibility to move down without clearing waivers makes him valuable as that may prove to be the Canadiens biggest obstacle this year managing their youth.
At 6-foot 200 pounds, he has decent size but more importantly he brings a goal scoring repertoire from the left hand side. The Canadiens have made every effort to bring in right wing talent in the past several years following the evolution of Max Pacioretty, and so in a crowded right hand system, Carr proves to have a slight advantage for the upcoming season.
His chances however seem to hinge on the a couple scenarios. Pacioretty is currently rehabbing a knee injury which is expected to see him miss most, if not all, of the preseason. Though we can reference last season’s concussion at the end of the year, or the infamous fractured vertebrae courtesy of Zdeno Chara and the Bell Centre extensions, Pacioretty has always been a quick healer from injuries. Either way his absence leaves a void on the left side for the Canadiens coaching staff to get a good look at Carr. Additionally, if Pacioretty manages to get back on time, theres a chance Galchenyuk could be moved from the left wing to a center position. If this happens Carr could also see a door open. Either way there are opportunities for Carr to strut his stuff early this year with the Habs.
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