Miguël Tourigny has just had a busy year. Last summer, he headed for Slovakia to start his professional career there. This week, he is participating in the Canadiens’ development camp, and in the fall, if all goes well, he will wear the colors of the Laval Rocket.
Not bad for a guy who was ignored two years in a row in the draft, in particular because of his small size (5 ft 8 in), before being claimed by the Habs at 216e rank last year, when we started rolling the wires at the Bell Centre.
If we talk about it, it’s because Tourigny had to use his experience to cheer up his younger brother, Jordan. The latter, defender of the Shawinigan Cataractes, was eligible for the draft for the first time last week. The family sat in the stands at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, never to hear the son’s name.
“The first two hours, I didn’t talk to him too much,” said Miguël Tourigny, after Monday’s training in Brossard. He’s pig-headed like me, so I let him get some air on his own. I let him. »
Then I told my parents to get out of the room so I could talk to him on my own. I said to him: ‟Jo, we know our family, we are fighters, we fight for everything we have. I’m not stressed. Arrive there with the knife between your teeth.” I saw in his eyes that something was going on.
“Over there” is in Winnipeg. Jordan Tourigny has been invited to the Jets’ development camp, which gets underway on Tuesday. He will try to convince the team management to give him a contract, or at the very least, to leave a favorable impression in view of the 2024 draft.
“He can trust me, I was drafted in my third year. I saw how he trains this summer, what people say about him. It can cause a surprise. I’m really proud of him and he’s going to break everything there! »
Miguël Tourigny returns from Trencin, after spending the 2022-2023 campaign in the Slovak first division. A nice life experience, where he was even able to learn some basic Slovak. “I know small bases. Hello, how are you, good morning, good afternoon, yes, no. It’s quite special as a language! »
The Canadian had no place for him in Laval, so he tried the European adventure, rather than returning to the junior ranks as a 20-year-old player.
“I really, really loved it. It was in two stages. At first it was a shock when I realized that I was alone in the world. Then the guys really helped me adapt.
“The junior would have been good, but in the long run it was better for me to play with men. At first, I asked my agents: “Are you sure?” But looking back, I tip my hat to them, it was a very, very good decision! »
Tourigny is now aiming for a position in Laval, where there will be congestion. Even if the Canadian started the season with eight defenders, there will still be William Trudeau, Logan Mailloux, Jayden Struble, Tobie Paquette-Bisson, Mattias Norlinder, Brady Keeper and Olivier Galipeau for the six positions on the blue line.
“I signed a contract with Laval, my goal is to have my place, he assures. It’s my plan A and it’s my only plan. »
Andersson, a “mentor”
Lias Andersson never lived up to the expectations that preceded him as 7e pick overall in 2017. Not exactly the best move of the careers of Jeff Gorton and Nick Bobrov, who were then working for the New York Rangers. This same Andersson, however, was hired by the Canadiens on Sunday and could give the Laval Rocket’s attack a serious boost this season. The 24-year-old Swede ended last season with 31 goals and 28 assists for 59 points in 67 games with the Ontario Reign in the American League (AHL). Adding his four games of the 2021-22 campaign, Anderson has scored 37 goals in his last 71 AHL games. “It’s important to have veterans,” said Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle. Lias has a lot of experience, he’s become a nearly one-point-per-game player in the American League. I hope he will be a mentor and help ease the pressure to produce offense that young people may feel. »
A simulated game
The Canadiens’ development camp ends on Tuesday with the presentation of an intrasquad game starting at 11 a.m. According to information released by the CH on Monday, the hopefuls will play two 25-minute periods, 4 against 4. Like all Habs training in Brossard, the event is free and open to the public. The team also plans to broadcast the meeting on its digital platforms.