Canadiens sign Big Red defenceman

The team announcement:

General manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of free agent defenseman Brendon Nash to a two-year contract (2010-11 and 2011-12).

Nash, who is currently completing his studies at Cornell University, plays with the Cornell Big Red in the ECAC of the NCAA.

Brendon Nash, who will turn 23 on Wednesday, March 31, is a 6’, 3’’, 206 lbs defenseman who hails from Kamloops, BC. In his last season at Cornell University in 2009-10 (team also includes his brother Riley), Nash led all team defensemen in scoring with 19 points in 33 games (2 goals, 17 assists).

He also served 48 penalty minutes. Nash recorded a total of 67 points (8 goals, 59 assists) and 173 penalty minutes in four full seasons with the Big Red. He also led all team defensemen in points in each the past three seasons.

From 2004 to 2006, Nash registered 60 points (9 goals, 51 assists) in 112 regular season games with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League).

Nash participated in the Canadiens’ development camp in 2009.

From Hockey’s Future:

Nash is a smart, offensive-minded defenseman who possesses a nice
combination of size, mobility and puck skills. He uses his 6’3 frame and
long reach to great advantage, particularly in protecting or stripping
the puck. He’s also not afraid to join the offensive play. Defensively,
he is solid and keeps things pretty simple. Nash has great poise and
patience with the puck, but what sets him apart from many young
defensemen is in his timely passing ability, particularly on power
plays. Though he skates quite well for a big man, Nash needs to work on
having quicker feet. Developing speed and strength are two areas that
will be paramount to his future success.

Cornell head coach Mike Schafer’s comments on Nash: “With
Sasha Pokulok
and Ryan O’Byrne
signing pro contracts last summer, Brendan had a lot of responsibilities
as a freshman and he did a tremendous job. He logged as much ice time
as we could possibly give him and played in all situations. It’s just a
matter of Brendan continuing to excel. We expect big things from him
next year and I think he’ll be one of the top defensemen in our league.”


  1. Tis Himself says:

    Considering the brain surgeons that have been roster players since ’93 and the Habs’ rate of success, perhaps it’s worth a try!

  2. Tis Himself says:

    Poor Mike Schafer. Just like Red Berenson, he has a tough time holding on to talent.

  3. fuhgawz says:

    Question — Are the Habs signing Hockey Players or Scholars?

  4. Tis Himself says:

    Is that really true? I never knew that. I am right-handed and shoot right and never thought twice about it.

  5. Say Ash says:

    I believe the picture answers your question. And, yes, since most people are right-handed, they also shoot left. Sound about right?

    So, dads, don’t force your left-handed kids to write with their right, but at least nurture their right-handed shot.

  6. SeriousFan09 says:

    He’s a LH shot unfortunately, but only 3 of 10 NHL defencemen are RH so they’re not exactly easy to track down. If he’s had to play right D before for his team, it will likely be a better deal for us than Spacek playing right D. Gorges handles it well enough.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  7. ed lopaz says:

    not sure if this will help because I’m replying 12 hours later to your post.

    the answer to your question is quite ironic, in fact.

    the sports scholarships to attend canadian universities are available – but do you know who is paying for them?

    are you sitting down?

    Canadian Major Junior Hockey teams.

    That’s right Major Junior.

    If you check out the web sites for the Q, Ohl, WHL, you will be able to read about the programs.

    The leagues themselves are paying the players a certain amount of money in scholarships if they go on to university, and many of the teams are topping up that number.

    I know the Montreal Juniors quite well.

    Part of their plan – when they target a kid who wants to go play US College hockey –  is to offer to pay the entire tuition of any Canadian university.

    check it out.

    not many people are aware of this program and people assume that Major Junior and Canadian universities are world’s apart.

    The Canadian university teams are FULL of major junior players that did not go pro.

    In fact, a kid these days has little or no chance to walk on and make a Canadian Univeristy hockey team – because almost all of spots are taken by major junior players attending the university on their major junior team’s scholarship money.

  8. nunacanadien says:

    Way to go PG, time to stop your theory of whether small shrimp size players including defensemen can win NHL hockey games, concentrate on hockey instead.  Sign big, play big, lose small.

  9. SeriousFan09 says:

    There is a reason college FAs go mostly undrafted. With modern scouting, unfair or not they can pretty much size these kids potential to be NHL players by the time they’re 18, or even before that. Some guys beat the system and prove to be late bloomers, after all the best active college free agent is Martin St. Louis.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  10. Derek says:

    Only one question. Is this guy right handed? or left. Too many lefties in the pros, righties are in desperate need.

  11. Hockey Socks says:

    Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz, and Mason Raymond come to mind. There hasn’t been a very high success rate with college free agents.

  12. Jbird says:

    Carolina would have to lose tonight as well.  

  13. coachdoug says:

    Good signing…Now we got a matching set of big Cornell boys…While I am a loyal Black Bear it’s been slim years for us as of late…

    “Vive le col roulé! Le système, C’est le col roulé!”

  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    Ed Belfour and Adam Oates were unsigned players out of NCAA hockey.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You can see all players stats at and prospect rankings at

  16. SlovakHab says:

    Seems like now it’s time of NCAA signings.. does anyone have a link for a comprehensive summary of all NCAA signings? I would like to compare what other teams are doing..

    And another question – from this kind of signings, are there any good NHL players that came out in the past? (and I don’t mean future Leafs stars Bozak ‘n’ Hanson but someone else). Cheers

  17. MontrealAtheist says:

    D’uh … Maybe it’s because (most) Canadian universities want to attract smart/intelligent students and no dumb low lives who can’t do anything in life besides playing hoop or hockey? Trust me, the Canadian system is way better off the way it is. There are some things in the US that we’d better not emulate …

  18. Chorske says:

    See my post re my experience teaching NCAA athletes below. I can’t speak for UNC, but I am willing to bet that they are if anything more stringent than the state school where I taught. So with due respect, you’re full of hot air.

  19. christophor says:

    that is called a joke, my friend. by your response, i dont know if you got that. sorry

  20. Tis Himself says:

    I got tossed in my first interview for Harvard on a layup. The iterviewer asked my what I would major in if I was accepted at Harvard College? I answered, Economics, not something useless ike Latin. Poop me, that was her major! I tried to recover that she could have a great conversation with St. Thomas More if they were to ever meet on the streets of Boston! Done as I was, I tried to pull the keeper and tie it up!

  21. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I know there are quasi-scolarships, bursaries and incentives across Canada here and there

    …WHAT I am saying though is too many quality Canadian kids are thinking American universities AND hockey scholarship programmes BEFORE They are Canadian

    …it’s rare You will see a high-end player make the NHL out of a Canadian university program

    …OBVIOUSLY the Canadian scholarship programs are not as sophisticated or comprehensive as their American and NCAA counterparts

    …I am not saying hockey scolarships don’t exist in Canada for Canadian kids …WHAT I am saying is they are Mickey Mouse and half-assed and uncoordinated, unlike in the United States

    …the US universities make this work financially …WHY can’t also the Canadian universities in a financially-viable business way ? …why shouldn’t athletics be complimentary to Canadian universities’ business plans as well as academic ?

    …the number of smart young Canadian kids who also are elite-hockey talent ARE as We speak crossing the border in growing exponential numbers …all We have to do is note where an increasingly growing number of top-end Canadian players being signed by NHL teams are coming from …NCAA/American university programs …doesn’t THAT say Canadian universities should start being a little more imaginative and aggressive trying to keep the majority of these kids in Our own elite-development programs ?

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  22. Tis Himself says:

    We’re on the same page. The real thing is providing a future for all the guys who don’t go pro. That is the real litmus test for success!

  23. showey47 says:

    “face palms”, fully clothed? Thats where i went wrong.

  24. HardHabits says:

    To be fair, personal computers didn’t exist in his time but his campus did have a computer. It took up three rooms and had a total of 16 bits of memory.

  25. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …We apparently agree and think the same on this Brian

    …it is hopefully something the boards of Canadian universities start to figure-out and implement asap

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  26. EricInStL says:

    It’s all your fault, it’s all your fault…..

    In Guy Boucher I trust.

  27. Tis Himself says:

    Bill, you’re out there on this one in general, but when it comes to hockey, you are not even close.  The ECAC where O’Byrne and today’s signing came from don’t even grant athletic scholarships. Hate to break it to you, but these are real schools, especially when it comes to hockey programs. Considering that I went to Columbia, all I would have to do to get into your most selective universities would have merely been to show up fully clothed for the interview.

  28. Tis Himself says:

    I hate to ever, ever hold the NCAA up as a model — it actually works in ice hockey though — but I really think the future is to somehow develop the Canadian University league so they are on par with their USA counterparts.  The CHL scholarship system has only a fuzzy link to real college educations in Canada from what I can discern. The Canadian universities that feel that developing athletics negatively effect their reputations should reflect upon how many of your nationals come down here for their college educations. I am biased toward NCAA D-1, but I long for the day when McGill or the U of T would go for all the marbles against Wisconsin or Boston College. Anything that expands our sport makes it better!

  29. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …unlike the average basketball player in the States, the average Canadian kid wanting to be educated at the same time as chasing His hockey dream is more intellectually capable to carry a reasonable academic load at the same time

    …those that can’t can opt for the CHL

    …I would say MOST of the kids playing today in the CHL, when pushed, would handle the academics as well as hockey

    …the ‘Real Joke’ is when some of these kids put all Their youth and heart into making an NHL career …and finding Their skills or fate is not on Their side

    …at some point the Canadian hockey system will have to wake-up to the realization these kids’ overall life without hockey options and needs must be the first priority

    …kids and parents are much smarter and savvy today than when I was growing up …either We develop/provide those hockey/educational options HERE in Canada, or the American development path will be so far ahead We will find it difficult down-the-road to catch-up

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  30. doug19 says:

    Well we will soon see if the Habs can win the important games and who on the team can raise their game a couple of notches. Wow the Bruins,Rangers and Atlanta sure raised their games did last night.

  31. Bill says:

    Athletic scholarships are a joke, and I’m glad that Canadian universities aren’t run like their American counterparts in this regard. It would be one thing if the scholarships went to people who actually ALSO BELONGED at a university, but they don’t in most cases. Universities like North Carolina must have to be pretty creative in creating courses that their basketball rosters can pass …

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  32. HabFab says:

    Not his fault, computers didn’t exist when he attended university.

  33. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Brian I believe BOTH the CHL and a Canadian university scholarship system would be completely compatible and viable in Canada

    …it’s only the shortsighted false-elitist Canadian academics controlling Our universities whom condescend on athletics that are getting in the way

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  34. Tis Himself says:


  35. RetroMikey says:

    We got to win at least 4 of 6, and it will not be easy.  Those injured Bruins just beat those friggin Devils on their home ice!  They will not quit just like Atlanta.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  36. topher5468 says:

    I know you have your reasons, but its hard to not like a trade when a drft pick is involved when we have no idea who that player will be, A better assessment should be made next year

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  37. HardHabits says:

    The Normal 0 false false false argument.

  38. Tis Himself says:

    post!  Unfortunately, the biggest
    impediment to developing Canadian college hockey is major junior hockey, or the
    CHL.  As long as that system exists,
    university hockey will be a backwater and players wanting more than hockey in
    their lives will go south to the NCAA. 
    Major junior might work for maybe 1% of those that want to pursue
    professional careers, but for the remaining 99%, they leave with absolutely
    nothing. They are ready for nothing but to drive the local Molson truck.  Fewer guys might get a shot at the show from
    D-1, but their careers prospects are much better away from hockey.

  39. Bill says:

    Just for the record, I still don’t like the Moore trade.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  40. habs_1993 says:

    great……Boston and Atlanta won….we better win in Carolina

  41. Bill says:

    Oh, well OKAY then, he sucks.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  42. topher5468 says:

    No help tonight, so if this team is going to make it, they won’t be backing in. They are going to have to win to make it.

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  43. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …more on topic: sure wish I was drinking my coffee while reading this thread, and it told Me We have just signed RICK Nash

    …would have put a real spring in my step this mornin’

    …a talent like Rick Nash is such a ‘waste’ in a hockey wasteland like Columbus Ohio

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  44. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I have never understood why Canadian universities have not embraced sport scholarship programs like in the United States

    …I understand only certain universities likely have relative resources and our universities want to uphold academic integrity …but especially development of Canadian kids in American universities seems so wasteful and ironic

    …there must be a way for Canadian universities to provide Canadian (and American) kids an academic/athletic program here in Canada at least as good or better than the NCAA

    …at some point in the future Canada will lose the opportunity, and it will be reflected in American hockey progressing through a more overall more well-rounded alternative for Our elite-athletes

    …Canadian universities have long resisted sport scholorship programs, but especially relevent to hockey They must look more realistically especially at integrating hockey scholarships for Canadian kids to stay in Canada

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  45. SeriousFan09 says:

    The Devils can never be useful can they? They’re at the very least handing the Ruins a loser point tonight.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  46. nickster13 says:

    are you saying you hope he gets fired? if so i agree, Don cherry takes away all the credibility of hockey night in canada. Not that it had much, but yeah. at least TSN has some actual hockey analysis and actual discussion. Don cherry talks about his new favourite prospect from kingston, then switches to some reference of bobby orr, and finds a way to diss visors. Then when Ron maclean makes a pitiful attempt to speak, he just gets cut off by don anyways.

    HNIC has become a farce and a drama anyways, and the worst part is they dont even have good announcers to at least make the actual game part worth watching on that channel.

  47. Mattyleg says:

    All six remaining.

    Not gonna happen.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  48. Say Ash says:

    Say you were trying to intercept a pass with only one hand on the stick, or reaching in the corner for a puck – probably using your strong hand, top of stick, no?

  49. Mattyleg says:

    And the retarded Cherry-Milbury “Partnership of Failure” the Canadian Bonehead Corporation employs for reasons unbeknownst to anyone…

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  50. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

    …DUH Boy …that is so ignorant, elitist and condescending it doesn’t deserve a response

  51. Say Ash says:

    Six straight?

  52. nickster13 says:

    I hope the bruins lose tonight and dont make the playoffs. maybe that will shut up the cocky bruins fans

  53. DMAN says:

    Someone asked why the Habs seemed to go after the educated. I don’t know. If they are looking for a reason, I would say Ken Dryden is  a pretty good reason!

  54. Tis Himself says:

    Did you think his name was Cornellov?

  55. Tis Himself says:

    God, in most walks of life this guy would be on the dole. Only in the NHL could a guy like him be employed.

  56. Mattyleg says:

    Yep, if they lose, they’re out.

    I did the math today, and if the Leafs won all their remaining 6 games, and Boston lost all of their 7 remaining, and the Thrashers only won one, and the Rangers 2, etc, the Leafs would make it into the playoffs.

    To quote Lloyd Christmas: “So you’re saying there’s a chance!!”

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  57. HardHabits says:

    Lee has a copy of the soon to be released NHL rulebook which has the clear penalty for goaltending:

    the violation of interfering with the puck when it is on its way to the net and it is (a) in the air, (b) entirely between the posts and below the crossbar and has the possibility of entering the net, and (c) is not touching the posts or crossbar.

  58. bigjames says:

    i believe that if the leafs lose tonight they are mathematically eliminated. (please someone correct me if i am wrong). but i am still nervous about atlanta catching the habs even though i know their schedule for the last 5 games is very rough!

  59. Eliisa says:

    My thoughts exactly. I have been following the games online – not looking overly promising right now. Scoreless in New Jersey and Thrashers are up 2-0.

  60. Chris says:

    Perhaps, but moving forwards we might have the opposite problem.  Subban, Weber and Carle are the top 3 defence prospects for the Habs and all shoot right.  Of the Habs young defencemen, O’Byrne is a right-handed shot.  I’d say they are potentially alright in that department moving forwards.

  61. ed lopaz says:

    just heard that he showed up after the olympic break out of shape – according to nick kipreos – he has been asked to lose 7 or 8 lbs before he gets back into the lineup.

  62. Chris says:

    They’ve already begun negotiations, but both sides agreed to put it off until after the season was over to minimize distractions during the stretch drive and playoffs.  So don’t hold your breath waiting for anything to happen until May (or even better, June!).

  63. DMAN says:

    Yeah, cause Gainey never showed any interest in big university defencemen, right?

  64. Harani says:

    Last night, it was Mike Ribeiro who was a healthy scratch for missing a team meeting. Dallas isn’t playoff bound so understandable. 

    However, today, it’s Shane O’Brien’s turn. And he will miss three games and all the practices up until Sunday for being late for practice. A little bit much no? Alain Vigneault should maybe run the league and everyone will get suspended.

    “I gotta feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

  65. christophor says:

    the russian big man, artyukhin, who a few here covet, just scored on the leafs. 2-0

  66. habs_agardiner says:

    good sighning, one that gainey would never do. I saw him play in B.C. a good play maker. And good to quaterback the powerplay, plus he will go in the corners and pick a fight.

    Good job!

  67. ed lopaz says:

    thank you. in fact, my son has applied to Stanstead College for grade 11. its a great school and they have an excellent athletic program – especially hockey.

    the school was just in the news because their new arena will be named the Pat Burns Arena – very cool.

    again – thanks for the encouragement.


  68. Tis Himself says:

    Judge the man by his results. Lots of people bagged on him for picking up Dominic Moore for a second rounder, but have since changed their minds. Grabbing this kid from Cornell was like picking up a fiver off the sidewalk.

  69. Tis Himself says:

    Oh, I can see it happening. He has called just four playoff games total in his decade-long career as a member of the NHLOA. But, the improvement that he has shown this year merits him calling all Hab playoff games. (We are as doomed as doomed can be!)

  70. christophor says:

    yes, but against mostly non-playoff teams.

  71. showey47 says:

    come on devils,islanders and not thrashers (sorry i just can’t say the alternative to thrashers)

  72. showey47 says:

    Oh if it was only true. If we can pull this thing off and get into a playoff spot we both know damn well chris lee will be doing at least 2 of our games. Going to the last game on the 10th against the leafs. It would be a nightmare if the game actually meant something and if lee was doingthe game.

  73. Tis Himself says:

    I heard Chris Lee is off to South Africa to do a few World Cup games. Some guys at FIFA saw him call a Habs game and thought he would be a big improvement!

  74. showey47 says:

    at least the officiating will be better.

  75. Exit716 says:

    I hope he got his degree. Not Timmins’s best moment as head scout, eh?


  76. Tis Himself says:

    Hey, you can never have too many Minnesota Mr. Hockey winners in your system!

  77. twocents says:

    Ah, ya never know. The kid’s still as skinny as a ’70’s roller derby girl. He could put on some weight and turn into a useful element on the D. I agree we can likely forget about top pairing potential, but we might have the next Hall Gill, with the bonus of some solid skating ability.

  78. showey47 says:

    If we don’t sign him,don’t we get some sort of compensation 2nd round pick or something?

  79. twocents says:

     I have no clue about that, Showey.

  80. showey47 says:

    I thought i had read that about a month ago,not sure if it was here or somewhere else.

  81. HabFab says:

    Believe it applies to only those that we CAN’T sign.

  82. twocents says:

    Hey Frank!

    Good to see you. Long time.

    Never heard of this, but it sure seems to take a little risk out of signing college bound kids.

  83. Chorske says:

    Wha- you pickin’ on the kid cos he’s built like an asparagus spear? ;)

  84. HabFab says:

    Eric, always watching in the shadows but it gets a little mad here at times during the season so.

    Believe it applies only to not being able to sign your first round pick as Phoenix with Blake Wheeler. The Rangers asked for this to also apply to the Russian kid who died.The NHL agreed last draft.

  85. SeriousFan09 says:

    Nice, PG is adding some size to our back end, almost all our realistic prospects on defence are at least 3 inches shorter, signing Nash is a nice move to have more big guys in the pipeline.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  86. tony d says:

    like Gauthier, my wife has also added some size to her back end….but that’s another story

  87. deuce6 says:

    You know what they say, you throw enough s**t at the wall, something would be bound to

  88. Mr.Hazard says:

    I like that they’re active in the junior/lower leagues. Looking ahead.

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  89. SeriousFan09 says:

    You better hope she doesn’t check browser history.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  90. TitoS74 says:



    I hooe she doesn’t see this comment.

  91. Mr.Hazard says:

    Browser history? She won’t see the comment from browser history!

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  92. Danno says:

    I hope for your sake Tony, that she doesn’t frequent this blog or else it’s the doghouse! :)

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  93. habbyone says:

    My wife too. Time for a trade!

  94. Say Ash says:

    If she’s not afraid to score by going down low and into the dirty zones, a lot of GMs would sign her long term…

  95. puck face says:

    by size do you mean you hanging to the back of her ? sorry couldnt help it.

  96. puck face says:

    thats how britanny spears got her first recording deal.

  97. Say Ash says:

    Yup, all the scouts said she had great stick-work…

  98. tony d says:

    I’m always in the doghouse, that’s why I spend all my time on HIO

  99. punkster says:

    He ain’t a shrimp, he ain’t on old age pension and he plays D. I’m willing to give the kid a break before turning on the old Timo Charm, aren’t you? פסח שמח

  100. ed lopaz says:

    agreed- chug sameach!

  101. le_vrai_jacques says:

    Yes, it’s been an hour, lets wait some more

  102. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    If he’s not in the Hall of Fame by 7:30, they need to fire everyone.

  103. showey47 says:

    7:30 atlantic time, anything else is too much time to prove himself. I mean,he isn’t even ambidextrous. Time to run him out of town,regardless of what town he’s in right now. He needs to be run out of it.

  104. Derek says:

    I cant read without the vowels!!!

  105. HardHabits says:

    What, what, what??? A big western Canadian boy? What happened to all the short Europeans and Mr. Minnesotas?

  106. SeriousFan09 says:

    PG and Timmins are just toying with you before selecting a series of Minnesota kids and Latvians at the 2010 draft.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  107. Les-Habitants says:

    Good signing, although I would imagine this doesn’t bode well for David Fischer’s future with the Habs

  108. Mike Boone says:

    What future?

  109. RudeMood19 says:

    Haha, Gauthier went after the wrong Nash.

  110. showey47 says:

    Nice signing,always good when you can add an asset without giving anything up. Good size,seems to have a pretty good upside when it comes to both his offensive and defensive game

  111. Anonymous says:

    Would anything feel more natural to you than not cheering for the blue and white?

  112. HardHabits says:

    I hear there are two brothers from Estonia that the Habs are targetting. The younger one is a late rounder but might be even better than his brother. If they can pick the older one early, like in the 1st round they might nab the younger one later and pull the wool over everybody’s eyes. Hahaha. Take that you idiots who pick big Western Canadian centres who score lots of goals.

  113. SeriousFan09 says:

    If it doesn’t work, will you complain about it 7 years after the fact?


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

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