Team Red beat Team White 3-2 in Sunday’s scrimmage at the Canadiens’ rookie camp in Brossard with Tanner Eberle scoring two goals for the winning team. Eberle also scored a goal in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“That surprises me because I’ve never put up big numbers at any level,” Eberle, who had 15 goals in 65 games last season with Moose Jaw in the Western Hockey League, told The Gazette’s Pat Hickey after the game.
Eberle said his lack of scoring was probably the reason he was overlooked in the NHL draft. When asked if his size — he’s 5-foot-9 and 169 pounds — might have been a factor, he replied: “I don’t think so. I’m actually a physical player, I like to hit people.”
General manager Marc Bergevin said Sunday that he hopes the newcomers create situations where “we have to make difficult choices,” the reality is that most of the roster spots are spoken for as the team heads into the main training camp on Wednesday.
The one exception among the 40 hopefuls attending the rookie camp is defenceman Jarred Tinordi (photo above). He played only eight regular-season games last season, but the Canadiens kept him around for the playoffs and accorded him veteran status by inviting him to the team’s annual golf tournament last week.
But Nygren arrived in camp last week with the kind of attitude that makes Bergevin smile.
“I think everyone here has the goal of playing in the NHL,” said Nygren, who is older and more experienced than most of the players in the rookie camp. “That’s my goal. I know they have a lot of defencemen in camp, and if I have to start in Hamilton I’m okay with that, but I want to play in the NHL.”
The 23-year-old Nygren was drafted in the fourth round in 2011 and decided that the time was right to give North American hockey a try after 3½ seasons in the Swedish Elite League.
The rookie camp wraps up Monday with a final scrimmage at 11 a.m. in Brossard and the Canadiens’ brain trust will gather to determine which players will be invited to the main camp, which opens Wednesday with physicals and fitness testing. The players will have their first on-ice session Thursday.
The Canadiens will play their first exhibition games at the Bell Centre Sunday night against Buffalo and Monday against Boston.
(Photo by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)