The Montreal Canadiens will have three prospects attend the evaluation camp for Team USAís U-20 World Juniors squad next week when David Fischer, Ryan McDonagh and Max Pacioretty will all look to make their impressions on Team USA officials in hopes of representing their country in December. All three players are recent first round picks, with Fischer going 20th overall at last yearís draft, McDonagh went 12th overall and Pacioretty going 22nd overall at this summerís draft.
David Fischer makes his second appearance at the evaluation camp after turning heads last year but was unable to crack the roster. This year Fischer will play a major role with Minnesota due to the loss of Eric Johnson turning pro, so he should play in all situations which will be a great experience for him. This will be his last chance to represent his country, but if he has another good camp and has a good start to the season, he stands a solid chance of making the roster.
For Ryan McDonagh it will be his first camp with the U-20 Team but he did play for USA last April with the U-18 Team. McDonagh is the youngest prospect in the Canadiens farm system, having just turned eighteen last month, so if he doesnít make this yearís squad he will have a chance to play for his county the following year. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the NCAA in the fall, how much ice time he will get since Wisconsin has two incoming freshman that were selected in the first round with the Wings picking Brendan Smith at 27th overall. On top of that the Badgers have a solid core of offensive defensemen in Kyle Klubertan and Jamie McBain as well as a number of seniors Davis Drewiske, Josh Engal, and Joe Piskula. The Canadiens have done well in drafting players from Wisconsin University with Brian Engblom, Chris Chelios, and Sean Hill selected in past years.
Max Pacioretty will also make his first appearance at the U-20 camp but unlike McDonagh, this year will be his only chance to play for his country since he will be too old to play in the 2009 World Juniors. It will also be interesting to see how Pacioretty adjusts to the NCAA, it would appear that he would start off on checking line but Michigan lost some key offensive forwards in TJ Hensick and Andrew Cogliano so if he can produce offensively then he should be able to see a good amount of ice time while playing for former Montreal Canadien Red Berenson who is tabbed as one of the top coaches in the NCAA.
Canadiens Stay in Cincinnati
The Montreal Canadiens recently announced that the organization along with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL will once again be affiliated with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Last year the team enjoyed a great deal of success in what was their first season back in the league after a two year absence. Several of the Canadiens prospects that played in Cincinnati were able to play a major role for the club, starting in nets with rookie Cedrick Desjardins who earned ECHL All Star and ECHL All Rookie team honors, he was one of the top rated goalies in the league. Defensemen Jon Gleed may have been the teamís top defensemen, he displayed a steady defensive game especially on the PK. Mathieu Aubin was able to chip in offensively while playing on the top line along with Cory Urquhart who was among the teamís leading scorers until his call up to Hamilton full time. Greg Stewart brought his energy game as well as a physical presence but it wasnít until the playoffs where he really stepped up offensively.
Itís unclear what players will end up in Cincinnati next year, with the sheer amount of depth in net it would not be a surprise to see the Canadiens send two goalies, Cedrick Desjardins and Loic Lacasse could both end up in the ECHL. Forward Ryan Russell could end up in the same boat as Mathieu Aubin, with quality ice time hard to come by he may be better off in the ECHL where he can get a ton of ice time but at this point itís hard to try and guess what players will move up to the NHL and AHL next year, and just how many roster spots will be open.
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