Habs’ Development camp overview

By Christian Gagne

Mike Komisarek: Well it wasn’t hard to see what the rave is all about, as his
upside is obviously huge. Through the duration of the camp, he did everything. Solid
hits, stick work, cleared the crease, rushed the puck, even passed right in
between two defensemen, made solid passes, etc. His work ethic and attitude
impressed everybody in attendance. Although it would be surprising to see
him in Montreal this year, he could make it hard for management to send him
down, and should have a very strong year in the AHL.

Josef Balej: He came in late because of the floods back home, and showed no
rust whatsoever. He was one of the best players in camp. His shot,
stickhandling, puck control in traffic and passes through traffic were all
amongst the best in camp. It would be nice to see him backcheck harder
however. But a good talent never the less.

Tomas Plekanec: It was nice to see him form a friendship with Balej, who
also served as a translator. His puck skills are all very good, and his
balance on his skates was remarkable, especially when you considered he
could hit bigger guys without falling down, and vice-versa. His shot does
need improvement however, as it does not have enough power.

Michael Lambert: For the most part, he was a disappointment. He is a better
player than what he showed for the majority of camp. However, he did get
better as the days went along, showing he was getting more and more
comfortable. By the last day, he was back to skating and shooting the way he
could. Playing with Balej and Plekanec in Hull could save face for this
camp, but for the most part, just like Christian Larrivee last year, he will
need to show up better prepared next year.

Christian Larrivee: A surprise for day 1. He came in ready, and while the
margin he had over players at the beginning got smaller as the camp went
along, he was still one of the better players out there. His shot and his
skating are both very good, but they will need to be smoothed out, as they
are still quite rough.

Christopher Higgins: It was very nice to be able to see him at camp. His
skating was solid, just as his stickhandling. Projections of him on a 3rd
line are accurate, and he should be one of the better third line players out
there. He has the potential to move up to a second line, but only if his
development goes very well; an impressive showing.

Duncan Milroy: He has all the intangibles, except for the skating, which in
of itself isn’t bad, just not as solid as his other skills. With that
being said, it shouldn’t hold him back the way it has with Ribeiro, because
Milroy has everything else. He was strong on the boards, his stickhandling
was above reproach, and never looked out of place in any situation. It was
also nice to see that he stayed out on the ice as long as he could as often
as he could. It says something about his work ethic.

Eric Himelfarb: A pleasant surprise. He caught a lot of eyes, but not just
because he was wearing number 68. His skating was good, and he was able to
set up plays just as much as he was able to finish them. While he won’t be a
star, he should challenge for a spot down the road.

Matt Shasby: While it would have been nice to able to see more of him, he
did look good in his time in camp. His skating was especially encouraging
for a defenseman his size.

Olivier Michaud: Was the better goalie in camp, despite his small frame. His
skating is excellent.

Chris Houle: His progression was very interesting and encouraging. He began
the camp with techniques that were foreign to him, but was eventually able to utilize them on a relatively regular basis. While J-F Perras looked
more comfortable on his feet, Houle was able to go down on his knees better
than his Ontario counterpart.

Individual ranking:

Best shot
1. Josef Balej
2. Mike Komisarek
3. Christian Larrivee
4. Jean Morin
5. Duncan Milroy
Worst shot – Johan Eneqvist (no power)

Best skater
1. Josef Balej
2. Mike Komisarek
3. Tomas Plekanec
4. Christopher Higgins
5. David Rodman
Worst skater – Jonathan Ferland (no east-west mobility)

Best stickhandler
1. Tomas Plekanec
2. Josef Balej
3. Duncan Milroy
4. Eric Himelfarb
5. Christopher Higgins
Worst stickhandler – Patrick Levesque (His “through the skates” moves just don’t work)

Best free agent invitee:
1. Adam Smyth
2. Chris Houle
3. Chris Eade
4. Jean Morin
5. Ryan Card
Worst free agent invitees – all worked too hard to deserve this

Best goaltender:
1. Olivier Michaud
2. Chris Houle – most improved player in camp
3. J-F Perras

Best defenseman:
1. Mike Komisarek
2. Andrew Archer
3. Matt Shasby
4. Ryan Card
5. Ryan Glenn

Best forward:
1. Josef Balej
2. Tomas Plekanec
3. Duncan Milroy
4. Christian Larrivee
5. Eric Himelfarb

There was no skill testing taking place during the final weekend, as the coaches already knew who were going to Hull. They focused mainly on just trying to set up a simple system for the players. Canadiens management didn’t even bother showing up on Sunday. I suppose they are already looking ahead to Hull.

-Christian Gagne