Free washer | The CH rookie tournament in five questions

The Canadian is sending some of its best prospects to Buffalo starting Thursday to participate in a rookie tournament pitting Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Boston, Ottawa and Montreal against each other. Mathias Brunet answers five questions to this effect.

1- Who will be the main headliners for the Canadian hopefuls at this tournament?

Eyes will obviously be on the team’s first pick in 2023, defenseman David Reinbacher, drafted fifth overall, but also on another big right-handed defender, Logan Mailloux, first round pick in 2021, 31e in total. Mailloux will be in his first training camp with the Canadian since he was sidelined last year due to a shoulder injury.

On the attack, you will have to keep an eye on Sean Farrell, who played a few games at the end of the season with the Canadian, Emil Heineman, seven goals in eleven games with the Laval Rocket at the end of the season, and the juniors Owen Beck, Filip Mesar, Joshua Roy, Riley Kidney and Florian Xhekaj.

2- Who will they face and which players will be worth watching from the other camps?

The Canadiens’ hopes will face those of the Buffalo Sabers on Friday at 7 p.m., the Bruins on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and the Senators on Monday at 1:30 p.m. The matches will be televised on the RDS website.

We should find some first round picks from recent years with the Sabres, Zach Benson, Matthew Savoie, Isak Rosen, maybe even Jiri Kulich, despite his full season in the American League, but not Noah Östlund, loaned this summer to the club First Division (SHL) Växjö. We don’t expect to see Quebec goalie Devon Levi. He should skip this step and report to Sabers training camp.

Without a first-round pick for two years, the Senators should not present a great formation. The first pick of 2021, forward Tyler Boucher, should be there, after another lackluster season, as should second-round pick Zac Ostapchuk. We should complete the team with guest players and young players from the American League.

For the same reasons, the Bruins shouldn’t offer a lot of top prospects. Fabian Lysell, Matthew Poitras and John Beecher are undoubtedly the best known.

3- Why is defender Lane Hutson not there?

Lane Hutson is now very high on the Canadian’s list of prospects, after a first season of 48 points in just 38 games at Boston University. But the NCAA rules are strict: a college player can take part in National Hockey League camps, but on condition that he does not miss school and assumes travel expenses, except for his first 48 hours. of a first participation in a camp.

Hutson, Luke Tuch, Jacob Fowler and company participated in the team’s summer development camps because it did not conflict with the school’s schedule, which would not be the case this week with the rookie tournament. Hutson and Tuch had to pay the full cost of their trip, because they were on their second and third camps, respectively, but we’re guessing that Fowler benefited from the free hotel and meals for the first two days since it was his first experience at this camp.

4- Why guest players?

With the hopes retained in the NCAA or in Europe, or with less full pipelines, there is a lack of players to count on a complete training. Organizations take the opportunity to invite players they have an eye on. They have sometimes already taken part in the summer development camp and we intend to continue the audition. There can always be surprises.

In 2021, for example, Mattias Norlinder was the big attraction in defense, in his first appearance in North America. Arber Xhekaj, 20, was a lowly guest, having been passed over in the draft for two years. His performances convinced management to offer him a contract.


Arber Xhekaj

In 2018, Montreal invited a certain Brandon Hagel to the rookie tournament. Hagel had just been dropped by the Sabres. After a lackluster performance, he was sent back to the junior ranks, where he started his season with a bang. Chicago was quick to sign him on Oct. 30 after just 15 games in Red Deer. Hagel was well established with the Hawks three years later when Tampa offered two first-round picks to get him. Hagel is coming off a 30-goal, 64-point season with the Lightning and he just signed an eight-year, $52 million contract…

5- Who are the biggest absentees apart from Hutson?

Without doubt Adam Engström, this 19-year-old left-handed defender drafted in the third round in 2022. Engström, 6 feet 2 inches and 190 pounds, is dedicated to the coming season with Rögle, in the Swedish first division (SHL). He had 16 points in 43 games last year, and five points in nine playoff games, an astonishing performance for such a young player. Engström also participated in the World Junior Championship, where he played in the first pair of defensemen.

Another Norlinder? Engström’s playing is much more complete. He offered this performance in the first division. Norlinder had 18 points in 34 games in the second division and played a modest role on the third pair of defensemen at the World Junior Championship.

Another defender will be one to watch in the coming years. It is Russian Bogdan Konyushov, 20, a fourth-round pick this summer. The 5-foot-11 right-hander has an assist in three games so far in Torpedo of the KHL, after posting 25 points in 64 games last year. He is already being used profusely despite his young age, but he is under contract there until 2026.

quote of the day

slaf [Juraj Slafkovsky] is a first choice, he puts a lot of pressure on himself. He has to have fun on the ice, he can’t take himself so seriously. We want to help him as much as possible. But while we’re doing this, we have to make sure we don’t kill our passion.

Martin St-Louis, Monday morning, at the Canadiens golf tournament.

If all the hopefuls of the NHL had the chance to count on a pedagogue like this coach…

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