With the assignment of five players to Hamilton yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens are now down to 29 players in camp (it was 28 after Bowman was released from his Professional Try Out, but then the team signed him to a two-way contract.)
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Here is a breakdown of who is left, and who is still fighting for a position.
Lock (1): Carey Price
Likely (1): Peter Budaj
Long Shot (1): Dustin Tokarski
Peter Budaj has played better than Tokarski so far, and Tokarski, while not being bad, hasn’t been great. The team could hold three goaltenders but with the depth on display at camp, especially at forward, I think it’s unlikely.
Long Shot (1): Darren Dietz
This battle closed up a lot with the assignment of Greg Pateryn and Davis Drewiske and the emergence of Nathan Beaulieu. I have Beaulieu as a lock to make this team because he is so much better than anyone else fighting for the spot.
Tinordi and Bouillon are interesting. Bouillon was seen to be a long shot to make the team, but every one around him has struggled and judging from Michel Therrien’s comments yesterday, it is likely that Bouillon is in the driver’s seat. However, Marc Bergevin was not willing to give Bouillon a two-way contract in the summer and I’m not sure if he has done anything to earn anything different.
Darren Dietz is a long shot just because I don’t see him passing Tinordi. It’s possible – Tinordi hasn’t had the greatest camp – but you don’t likely start someone’s NHL career as a seventh defenceman resigned to the press box. It’s likely they want to take one more look at him in game action before making their decision.
Very Likely (1): Jiri Sekac
Unless Something Big Happens (1): Travis Moen
Long Shots (1): Jacob De La Rose
I’m not confident enough to have Sekac as a lock, although I feel he is going to make the team. Travis Moen is going to make it unless they put him on waivers or trade him which is possible but would be a big move.
Christian Thomas and Michael Bournival are both good enough to make this team, but become victims of the numbers game. If the Canadiens go with three goaltenders, both will be cut. If they go with two, at least one will make the team.
Bowman can also make this team but I put him a touch below the other two. Jacob De La Rose is a lot like Dietz. You don’t bring him up to sit in the press box and there’s no immediate spot for him to play. But they probably want him around the team and to get more pre-season action.
So there you have it. There are still some decisions to be made, the trickle down effect starts with goaltenders because that likely opens or closes a spot for a 14th forward. And unfortunately, injuries are a possibility in the final stretch of games as well.