Final Day for Habs Prospects at July Development Camp

Rocket All HabsCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2010

MONTREAL- FEBRUARY 2:  Ben Maxwell #61 of the Montreal Canadiens skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks on February 2, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Canadiens defeated the Canucks 3-2.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

posted by Rocket
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The Canadiens July development held their final session at the Complexe Sportif Bell on Friday afternoon.

It was learned that Alexander Avtsin was been getting medical treatments including an MRI on his injured wrist this week. It is a follow-up to evaluate the progress of the injury that ended his season in late January.

Avtsin last participated in drills on the Brossard ice on Wednesday afternoon.  He shot pucks alone on Friday morning.

Avtsin has indicated that he is interested in playing in North America with the Canadiens or Bulldogs next season. Pierre Gauthier has confirmed that contract talks are under way.

When you are contemplating what the Canadiens' roster will look like for next season don't forget about Ben Maxwell. He has good size, soft hands and is a very smart player. During the Canadiens' recent playoff run, Maxwell was usually the last guy off the ice during practices.

Maxwell and Lars Eller have been the top two forwards at the development camp. This week Maxwell has been showing off some sick moves from close in around the goal. Today he was one of the few to be successful in a 1-on-2 drill splitting P.K. Subban and Jonathan Brunelle who were defending on the play.

Eller has been very impressive this week too. He is known as a playmaker but has a quick release and is a very accurate shooter. Eller competes hard, plays physical, and can get to top speed in only a few strides.

While it might be a big leap for Eller to line up with Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez in the Fall, expect him to challenge Benoit Pouliot for that spot sometime during the season if given the right opportunities by the coaching staff.

Morgan Ellis caught my attention earlier in the week and my opinion of him continues to grow. The stay-at-home defenseman is not flashy but has a poise on the ice that is hard to miss. Ellis has been one of the quiet leaders of the group.

Ryan White is another Hamilton Bulldogs player who will be vying for one of the last available spots on the Canadiens this Fall. He plays a gritty games as we witnessed in his 16 games with the Canadiens last season. He seems to be the type of defensively responsible role player who fits well in coach Jacques Martin's system.

I was asked by a reader to report on Andreas Engqvist. He is a 6'4" 191 lb. center who played with Kyle Klubertanz last season for Djurgardens of the Swedish Elite league. I must say that I was looking forward to seeing a player with his size and reported skill set.

Unfortunately, I came away a little disappointed, not in what I saw but in what I didn't see. Despite his credentials, Engqvist did little to distinguish himself at the camp.

The camp concluded with a spirited game of 3-on-3. Aaron Palushaj scored the winner as Team Red came up with the victory for the third consecutive day.

Team White did push-ups in the dim light on the ice surface. The arena power seemed to be affected as thunderstorms moved through Montreal bringing an end to the mini-heatwave.

Fortunately for the players, they don't wear the same colour jersey each day. "My son was wearing red yesterday," said the proud father of Francois Brisebois as he watched his boy do the mandatory ten with the rest of his teammates in white. There were broad smiles on the faces of family and friends as Brisebois scored during the scrimmage.

Brisebois is a 22-year old undrafted prospect from Montreal who has spent the past three seasons playing for the Colgate University Raiders of the ECAC. The 5'10", 165 lb. left-winger has one year of med school remaining but this week has been fully focussed on hockey.

Another player who seemed to be enjoying the experience this week is Mark MacMillan. MacMillan was selected by the Canadiens in the fourth round of the amateur draft in June. At 6'1" and only 150 lbs., MacMillan has to fill out his frame to compete at a higher level.

MacMillan was the Coastal Conference’s Rookie of the Year with 26 goals and 54 assists while playing for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the BCHL. He has committed to the NCAA for the 2011-2012 season playing for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

MacMillan was the last player to leave the ice this afternoon. He seemed to want a few more opportunities wearing the CH to skate down the ice, make his best moves, and score into the empty net in the dim light of the Brossard arena.

It was a fitting way to end the July development camp.

(photo credit: AP)

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