BAIE VERTE, NL — As start of a new NHL season inches nearer, many of us look forward to finally seeing game action, but which Habs players will we see in uniform this year? It appears that there will be roster spots available for rookies to battle for with the next step to earning a roster spot is to shine at the Rookie Camp. But the evaluation is just one more piece of the puzzle in an off-season that has included Canadiens Development Camp and National Junior Evaluation Camps.
Is it ever good to finally be back watching hockey! Courtesy of an online stream from RDS, fans were able to follow the first rookie scrimmage that took place on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, recent first round pick Nikita Scherbak was unable to play in this game due to the flu. I admit that I was disappointed to hear this as he is one of the players who was expected to make a huge splash at rookie camp.
Below you will find my initial personal impressions of a handful of prospects. Team White won the game 3-2.
Jacob De La Rose: As one of the top prospects pegged to be fighting for a roster spot on the Habs for the upcoming season, I was not impressed by De La Rose in this game. For a player heralded for his defensive play, he did commit a couple blunders in his own end which led to turnovers. On the bright side, he did show some chemistry with Daniel Audette, hooking up on a couple nice passing plays.
Christian Thomas: His performance at rookie camp so far has just been average. For a 22-year old with two AHL seasons under his belt, I was expecting him to step up but was disappointed.
Daniel Audette: It was noticeable that Audette has skill and speed, as he showed glimpses of it, but he was still unable to put together a solid game. He still needs to work on strength and awareness but for a first time rookie camp goer, it was promising.
Sven Andrighetto: This guy was on fire! It seemed like Andrighetto was constantly creating chances as soon as he got the puck. I was most impressed with his awareness, speed and passing ability. If I was to pick a star of this game, it would have to be Andrighetto.
Darren Dietz: As he enters his second season of professional hockey I will predict some bumps in the road. Dietz has a booming shot, but it didn’t seem like he was able to create enough room to get a good chance in this game. He was solid defensive-wise, which is promising.
Michael McCarron: I questioned Bergevin’s choice when he picked the towering McCarron in the first round of the 2013 draft. After his debut in the OHL last year with the London Knights, many people had their doubts. Fast forward one year and I’m eating my words. I was impressed with his speed and hands. The guy really seemed to turn his game around and I look forward to seeing him step up to a bigger offensive role this year.
Jiri Sekac: Sekac’s ability to make decisions under pressure really showed today. He always seemed to be two steps ahead of the opposing players making the right decisions at the right time. It was noticeable that Sekac played at a higher level (the KHL) because few members of the white team could defend him. Although I said above that Sven Andrighetto was my star of the game, I believe that Sekac took one more step towards shoring up his roster spot with the game he played today.
I welcome you to share your opinion in the comments section below.
First scrimmage lineups