About 150 people showed up at the Canadiens practice facility in Brossard Monday morning to watch as the team’s annual development camp kicked off.
Fifty players were invited to the camp, which ends on Friday. Forty-three were on the ice Monday morning including Russian forward Nikita Scherbak, the Canadiens’ first-round draft pick at last month’s NHL entry draft, and Jiri Sekac, a 22-year-old forward from the Czech Republic who the Habs signed last week as a free agent.
“I’m trying to play next season in the NHL,” Scherbak told reporters.
“It’s like just hard work and we’ll see,” he said.
“I can’t say I’m ready, not ready. It’s the coach opinion and just hard work.”
Twenty prospects who were drafted by the Canadiens are at camp. That group includes Michael McCarron and Swedish forward Jacob de la Rose, who the Habs selected in the first and second rounds, respectively, in the 2013 draft. Forwards Connor Crisp and Artturi Lehkonen as well as defencemen Dalton Thrower and Darren Dietz were among those prospects on the ice Monday.
McCarron spent the past year with the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League where his season got off to a bumpy start, but improved in the second half.
Defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, who played 24 games for the Canadiens this past season including seven during their playoff run, is also at the camp.
Twenty-one players are attending the camp on a try-out basis.
The players were scheduled to arrive in Montreal on the weekend and undergo medical exams on Sunday.
To look at a photo gallery from today’s camp, you can click here:
(Photos and video by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)