There really is no official start to the Montreal Canadiens year, but it certainly feels like it is the golf tournament for the Habs Children’s Foundation that begins the excitement with the big club. It’s the first chance to see the new players acquired in the off season and talk to them about their new life in Montreal. This year, the biggest crowds will be around Karl Alzner who was the marquee signing and Jonathan Drouin who was the marquee trade. That blockbuster yielded a player of immense skill, but it also took out of the rotation the player that was the huge draw at rookie camp, Mikhail Sergachev. He’s in Tampa Bay now which means the best prospect now on defence has less skill but still an NHL likely in Noah Juulsen.
When the Habs take to the ice this weekend for two rookie games against the Ottawa Senators rookies and the Toronto Maple Leafs rookies, all eyes will be on Juulsen to see what this former first round draft choice can bring as he transitions to his first year in the pro ranks all but certain to play in the American Hockey League in Laval this season.
Another defender of high interest is Victor Mete who shone last season for the London Knights. He was a fourth rounder taken 100th overall in 2016. Not much was expected at the NHL level for Mete for sure — he was a Trevor Timmins long shot. However, Mete continues to improve each year and the possibility that he could actually be an NHLer is now there. You simply can not ignore a player with a plus minus in 3 seasons of 19, 53, and 36.