Rookie Camp Notes From Laval: Montreal and Ottawa

by Carl Sinclair on September 8, 2018

September 7th2018 It was a tough night to say the least for the Montreal Canadiens rookies against the Senators’, but it was also a rather unfair matchup between the two teams who suited much different lineups at the Bell Place in Laval, Quebec this Friday night.

So the not-so-young Senators won the game, 4-0. But it would have been a whole different story if it wasn’t for Habs’ undrafted invitee Samuel Harvey in front of the net. Harvey, who played with Rouyn-Norranda of the QMJHL in 2017-18 was the only positive sight coming from a player wearing a Canadiens jersey, making key saves and following the pace with a surprising composure. Without him, the score could have easily been 3-0 instead of 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Another unfair contest was the Kotkaniemi-Tkachuk showdown. As we all know, the two were drafted respectively third and fourth overall at the last NHL amateur draft and it was obvious that the two were going to be watched during this game. Well, lets just say that the American was a couple (even many) steps ahead of the Finn in this one. His physical maturity as well as the quality of their linemates rapidly made it a no contest and it wouldn’t be very fair to draw any line of comparison between the two at this time.

 

Here are some notes from key players in this game:

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, MTL:There was between 2500 and 3000 pair of eyes ready to analyze every single move the Finnish would make in Laval on his Canadiens debut. Well, it was a tough one for the 18-year-old who will still need to adjust to the North American rinks and style. He also tried to be physical at times and that did not suit him well at all. But as mentioned before he had nobody to play with. Not to be rude here, but the last time he had this kind of support from his linemates was probably when he was 14 or 15-years-old…

Brady Tkachuk:Many thought he would have had something to prove against Jesperi Kotkaniemi, drafted right before him last June. It was the case at some occasions, but he also seemed bored at times. He was simply too talented to play this game tonight and it is not sure if any sweat was found on his equipment at the end of the third period. His first of two goals was a beauty, making it in front of the goalie with no difficulty what so ever to finish it with a slick move on Harvey, who had no chance against the 2018 NHL’s fourth overall pick

Alex Formenton, OTT:  Brought a lot of energy into this game. His line,  with Drake Batherson and Logan Brown was easily dominating on almost all of the shifts they played, finding absolutely no opposition from the other team tonight. His vision, efficient decision making and his speed made him one of the most entertaining players to watch tonight. He was also on the ice to kill most of his team’s penalties.

Drake Batherson, OTT:Just like his linemate Formenton, he was a key offensive factor for the Sens. Not sure if it was due to the lack of opposition again here, but it seemed very easy for him to find his linemates and create strong scoring chances.

Logan Brown and Colin White, OTT:They were both useful to the Sens’ offense, but were not the main actors in most of their line’s scoring chances. They will find themselves at the wrong end of the list of candidates for top 9 roles with the parent club if they let the younger ones get all the spot lights on.

Filip Gustavsson, OTT:I wish I could tell you he was instrumental in his 15-save-shutout, but that would be the biggest fake news. He did make a very strong save, putting his left toe right at the perfect place at the last moment when left alone against an opponent. For the rest, he was square, composed and most importantly totally unchallenged.

So that’s it! I really wish I could have told you more about some Habs’ prospects here but there was simply nothing to be said tonight. Carl Sinclair