It almost seemed as if Rob Ramage and Francis Bouillon had coordinated to send the same message to the players: train here.
Posted yesterday at 22:21
Player development has been a hot topic among Canadians since the arrival of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes. With 38 players claimed in the last four drafts, the pool of hopefuls has never been more crowded.
Ramage met with the media after Tuesday’s practice and was asked by a colleague which players stood out at the rookie tournament in Buffalo. He immediately named Xavier Simoneau and William Trudeau.
“They had a really good summer at Brossard, they trained here and it showed,” Ramage said.
Bouillon first named Emil Heineman, before being specifically asked about Simoneau. It was as if he was waiting for the question to be asked.
“He spent a lot of time here, a lot of time on the ice with Adam Nicholas. [le directeur du développement hockey]. Trudeau also put in a lot of effort and as a player you have to invest in something. Simoneau isn’t from here, but he spent the summer with Trudeau. They were here from Monday to Friday, exercising and jumping on the ice. That’s how you become a hockey player. You train with the best. They understood that spending time at Brossard is an investment. »
Obviously, it’s easier for established players in the Montreal region to make that effort, because they can sleep at home. Those who come from outside have to stay, so they pay for a hotel or an apartment. For youth players, who are not yet under contract with the NHL, the investment can be considerable.
Juraj Slafkovsky made this investment, arriving a few weeks before the start of the camp. However, he is one of the privileged few, as he signed his contract this summer, which comes with a $95,000 annual bonus. “It allowed me to see the world, get rid of the effect of jet lag. I know the city better and that is important”, he summed up.
Owen Beck, choice of 2me CH’s return, he wanted to follow suit, but a busier-than-expected summer prevented him, he said. But he would like to spend “maybe every other week” at the team’s facility in Brossard next summer.
Meanwhile, Jordan Harris spent the summer at his home in the Boston area. Among other things, he skated with Bruins prospects, in sessions arranged by John McLean and Tom Ford, two skill development consultants hired by the Bruins.
“I was home this summer, it was convenient, I knew when I had ice and I had groups of players to train. Spending my summers here would be just as good, if not better,” she admits.
For Ramage, there’s no question that the hopefuls would benefit from emulating Simoneau and Trudeau, who were able to rub shoulders with Nick Suzuki and Josh Anderson, among others.
“Things have changed in the locker room. Canadian boys train here and what better models to work with, to know what to improve? Do you want to become a hockey player or do you prefer to spend time on the beach? Ramage fell.
That is a piece that is in the hands of the players. For its part, the new Canadian administration has also implemented initiatives.
For example, participating in a more elaborate debutante tournament than in recent years with three or even two teams. There were six clubs in Buffalo and the Canadian hopefuls faced three different teams in addition to training. “From a scouting standpoint, you can see more teams,” Ramage said. We played three games and that was enough. That’s what we were able to do by going to Buffalo, instead of just playing Belleville. »
The cane has also been primed to frame the hopes. Ramage and Bouillon are now surrounded by the very energetic Adam Nicholas. Marie-Philip Poulin joined as a consultant, but since her main job is playing hockey, she can’t be there full time.
Also, a member of the organization told us this weekend that Scott Pellerin has joined the development team. The former player, who spent seven years in player development for the Maple Leafs, was also on the ice Tuesday. In addition, Nick Carrière, whose official title is “Affiliate Club Manager and Professional Scout”, also joined the player development group, as Ramage named him when listing the staff.
It was impossible to know what the titles of Pellerin and Carrière are. But Ramage underscored the importance of him, noting that the Habs will have 27 prospects this season who won’t be with the Laval Rocket.
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