Canadiens forward Justin Courtnall, from Victoria, goes through his physical as the team opens its rookie training camp Thursday, September 5.
Photograph by: Ryan Remiorz, THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL — The Canadiens’ rookie camp got underway Thursday with 40 players going through physical exams and fitness testing at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
The players will hit the ice Friday morning and the first of three scrimmages is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday. There will also be scrimmages on Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m.
The group includes four players who have had a taste of the National Hockey League. Defencemen Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn all auditioned with the Canadiens last season, while forward Christian Thomas, who was acquired in a trade for Danny Kristo, played one game for the New York Rangers.
Tinordi, Beaulieu and forward Michael McCarron are first-round draft picks, but the camp also includes eight players invited on a tryout basis in hopes of following the footsteps of current Canadiens centre David Desharnais.
Here’s a fan’s guide to 10 players worth watching this weekend:
Jarred Tinordi: His presence at the Canadiens’ golf tournament this week is one tipoff that the 6-foot-6 defenceman is sticking around this season. He added size and a physical presence to the roster down the stretch and in the playoffs last season.
Nathan Beaulieu: He received a break this summer when an Ontario judge gave him and his father, Jacques, conditional discharges after they were charged with assault at a party following a golf tournament. Now, it’s time for the 2011 first-round pick (17th overall) to put his puck-moving skills to use with a strong season in Hamilton with the American Hockey League’s Bulldogs.
Michael McCarron: It will be difficult to miss this year’s first-round pick (25th overall) because the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is a physical presence. He’s a raw talent, but he’s in good hands in London, where brothers Dale and Mark Hunter run a first-class Ontario Hockey League junior operation.
Zachary Fucale: The first goalie chosen in this year’s draft had a 45-5-3 record as he backstopped a junior powerhouse in Halifax to the Memorial Cup.
Tim Bozon: A third-round draft choice in 2012, Bozon put up strong numbers with Kamloops in the Western Hockey League with 36 goals and 55 assists.
Ben Duffy: The undrafted free agent comes to camp with an AHL contract. Duffy’s lack of size — he’s 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds — might be the reason he was overlooked at the NHL draft, but it’s difficult to overlook his production. He had 39 goals and 71 assists last season with the P.E.I. Rocket.
Magnus Nygren: The Canadiens took a chance when they selected Nygren in the fourth round in 2011. At 23, the offensive defenceman is older than most of the players in the camp and is coming off a 13-goal, 19-assist season with Farjestads in the Swedish Elite League.
Darren Dietz: A fifth-round pick in 2011, Dietz developed into a strong two-way defenceman last season with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades. He had 24 goals, 34 assists and 100 penalty minutes.
Charles Hudon: Injuries have plagued Hudon, but he was a standout at the world juniors and will be making a return trip to the tournament as he finishes his junior career in Chicoutimi. He had 71 points in 56 games last season.
Sven Andrighetto: The Swiss forward is on the small side at 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds, but he put up 98 points in 53 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games last season with Rouyn-Noranda.
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