The last three years, my son and I have attended some of the Montreal Canadiens’ development and main pro camps. We are huge Habs fans and my son really enjoys watching all the players especially the more prominent names like Koivu, Higgins (my son’s favorite), Kovalev and Huet. I, on the other hand, focus most of my attention on watching the younger players/prospects of the organization. Watching and evaluating their skill set to gain a better understanding of where they might fit into the Canadiens’ organization. It will be the Latendresses, O’Brynes and Kostitsyns (to name just a few) of the hockey world who will help lead this team to future success and hopefully a Stanley Cup(s).
I have always been fascinated by the development process of the Habs prospects, how much determination and dedication it takes each player to make it to the NHL. I can remember watching Christopher Higgins and Mike Komisarek at one of the development camps not too long ago, seeing Higgins fight through numerous checks and Komisarek winning a lot of the one on one drills along the boards. They certainly showed me and more importantly, the Canadiens organization the desire and determination which has made them very important members of the current Habs roster (possibly future assistant captains or captains as well).
I, like many Canadiens fans, will be watching how well 2007 1st rounders, Ryan McDonagh(#12) and Max Pacioretty(#22) will fair against the other prospects. I’m also anxious to see the progression of defenseman David Fischer (2006-20th) and Ben Maxwell (2006-49th) from last year’s development and main pro camps. Has Ryan White improved his skating and overall quickness from last year’s camp? It will be very interesting to watch a newcomer like Pavel Valentenko who impressed scouts at the 2007 U20 junior championships with his aggressive style. Many Habs fans will want to see if Trevor Timmins’ prediction of P.K.Subban being the fastest skater at camp is true. Other fans will want to see what type of skill set it takes to score 71 goals in the QMJHL like Thomas Beauregard did last season. Has Nichlas Torp (2007-163rd) fully recovered from last year’s knee surgery and is he as good as some scout say he is (they say he plays a similar style as Alexei Emelin).
These are the story lines and observations we will be following the next few days at the development camp. My son and I will be attending this week’s development camp from our own perspective points of view and enjoying every moment of it. This camp will only be the beginning of a long and sometimes difficult journey for these players to achieve their dream of someday playing in the NHL.