Montreal Canadiens AHL Affiliate | Laval Rocket News: Rocket Training Camp Roster, Injury Updates, Surprises from Canadiens Camp, Lindgren
ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | LAVAL, QC. — The Rocket’s training camp began on Monday in Laval, as 22 players reported to Place Bell. The list of players that attended the first day of training camp included three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 12 forwards. There were four additional players cut after Monday night’s game, that will report to Rocket camp. The number will increase throughout out the week as the Canadiens reduce their roster from camp and assign players to the AHL.
Unlike the NHL, the pre-season schedule is short in the AHL. Laval will play two exhibition games this weekend at home against Belleville, and then the regular season begins.
The Rocket invited seven players to camp on a professional tryout: André Bouvet-Morissette (F), Cody Milan (F), Michael McNicholas (F), Kevin Lynch (F), Gabriel Sylvestre (D), Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin (D), and Jonathan Racine (D).
Gustav Oloffson is currently listed on the injury list at the Canadiens camp. Oloffson wasn’t on the ice for the first day of camp due to a shoulder injury. This seems to be a recurring occurrence as last year, he suffered a season ending shoulder injury in the second game of the season. Oloffson will need to clear waivers before joining Laval, which he should considering his history of injuries.
On Friday, the Canadiens announced that Michael McCarron will miss approximately six weeks after suffering a groin injury. McCarron was having a good season last year until he suffered an injury in late December that led to a season ending shoulder injury. At that point, he had recorded 21 points in 32 games. McCarron will also need to clear waivers before joining the Rocket.
Fleury Fighting for Spot
With Noah Juulsen sidelined due to injury, it has opened up a roster spot for the Canadiens at right defence. Josh Brook was given the first look by the coaching staff, but he hasn’t been able to capitalize. Brook has shown that he likes to join the play in the offensive zone, but he has made mistakes. It’s understandable considering that he’s only played seven games as a professional. A full season in the AHL will help his development.
Cale Fleury has impressed Claude Julien with his play in the four pre-season games. He has moved the puck well, been solid defensively, and delivered solid hits. Fleury’s stint continues this week at Canadiens camp, and the opposition that he will face will get tougher as the roster sizes of opponents decrease. If Fleury doesn’t make the team, I expect him to have an important role in Laval and get recalled to Montreal at some point during the season.
Evans Surprising at Camp
Jake Evans was cut on Monday night from the Canadiens after having a good camp.”First game was okay, and second game for me got a lot better and I’m hoping to just keep going and you got to take advantage of the opportunities given,” said Evans before Saturday’s game against the Senators.
Evans had two goals including the game winning goal on a short handed breakaway against the Devils. Julien was impressed by Evans progression, and I expect Evans to get a look if the Habs need a bottom-six forward later in the season.
In 67 games last season, Evans scored 13 goals and added 32 assists, and was tied for first on the team with 23 points on the power play. He finished the season as Laval’s number one centre and playing on the power play and the penalty kill.
Belzile Getting Attention
Even though he finished last season as the Rocket’s leading scorer, Alex Belzile wasn’t a name that was being talked about headed into Canadiens camp. Belzile finished as the Rocket’s leading scorer with 19 goals, 35 assists and a minus-11 rating. With his 54 points in 74 games, he set a personal high in the AHL. He played in the top-6 with time on the top unit on the power play and penalty kill.
Belzile played with a lot of energy and didn’t take any shifts off in the three games he played at camp. He wasn’t supposed to play on Thursday night after playing in Bathurst on Wednesday, but Julien wanted to give him another look.
“I have no control over the contracts. My mindset is that every time I get a chance to get on the ice, I get a chance to be noticed” said Belzile after Wednesday’s game. “I know a guy in my situation always has to have the pedal to the medal on every shift, and have good work habits, and I think that’s what makes me stand out over others.”
Belzile was with the Rocket on an AHL contract last season. In May, the organization rewarded him with a one-year, two-way contract. With abundance of fourth line players on the Canadiens roster, it was no surprise that Belzile was cut, but he will be an option for a recall later in the season.
Primeau’s Spectacular Debut
Cayden Primeau was part of the initial cuts from the Canadiens camp, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t play well. He came into relief for Carey Price for the second half of the Devils game as it was planned from earlier in the day. Primeau made 16 saves including a spectacular save on a two-on-one. The only goal that he allowed was from a bad bounce off the glass.
“[Cayden Primeau] brought life back into the crowd. He had a great game. He handled himself well” said Julien after the Devils game.
Charlie Lindgren remains part of the second week of Canadiens camp. “I expect to be here. I mean, that’s what I worked hard for all summer and I just want to keep on playing the hockey that I’m playing right now. I feel good out there. I feel good mentally and physically” said Lindgren in Brossard following Sunday’s practice. In his two starts, he made 18 saves on 21 shots against the Panthers, and 22 saves against the Maple Leafs on Monday night.
I expect Keith Kinkaid to get a start for one more game this week before an official decision is made on the identity of Price’s backup. If Kinkaid wins the roster spot, Lindgren will need to clear waivers prior to joining the Rocket.