Tag: Torrey Mitchell

Michael McCarron

Looking to make the leap: Michael McCarron

Michael McCarron will be playing professional hockey next year.

The question is where.

According to Habs GM Marc Bergevin, McCarron — Montreal’s first-round pick (25th overall) in 2013 — will likely start the season with the club’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s.

But in early July, he opened the door ever so slightly.

“There’s room for a young player [in Montreal] if they perform,” Bergevin explained, per the Gazette. “It’s up to them.”

There’s reason to believe McCarron could be that young player. At 20, he boasts tremendous size — 6-foot-6, 225 pounds — and is coming off a banner junior campaign, in which he scored 68 points in 56 games for OHL London and Oshawa, then another 18 in 21 playoff games, helping the Generals win the Memorial Cup while earning a spot on the tournament all-star team.

As for his NHL prospects… well, McCarron isn’t lacking confidence.

“The way I look at it is, nobody can stop me when I’m going full speed and nobody can take the puck off me. That’s the way I think,” he said, per NHL.com. “I don’t know if that’s being cocky or not, but I just want to hold the puck as long as I can and take pucks to the net and be strong on pucks.”

McCarron’s size, strength and skill set certainly makes him a candidate for an NHL gig this fall.

Also helping his cause? A position switch.

McCarron moved to center last season and proved to be a dynamic force, while also becoming a more well-rounded player. He prides himself on versatility — “I can play on the wing or at center,” he told the Globe and Mail back in May — but that ability to play down the middle could really be to his advantage.

Right now, Montreal has Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, Lars Eller and Torrey Mitchell at center — hardly a dynamic group, and not especially deep. What’s more, Bergevin has expressed doubt that Alex Galchenyuk — the No. 3 overall pick in 2012, once thought to be the top-line pivot of the future — will ever play there.

“[Galchenyuk] is not there yet,” Bergevin explained at Montreal’s end-of-year presser. “He might never be a centerman.”

So yeah, a few factors working in McCarron’s favor.

The reality, though, is that making the leap from junior to the NHL is a tall task, even for a tantalizing prospect. McCarron will have to show remarkably well in training camp and the preseason — probably at center and wing — just to crack the Canadiens’ opening-night roster.

It’s Montreal Canadiens day at PHT

2015 NHL Awards - Press Room

If you wanted the story of Montreal’s ’14-15 campaign, all you had to do was watch the NHL Awards.

Or more specifically, the Carey Price awards.

Price was at the microphone four times to celebrate his banner campaign: Once for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, once for the Vezina as the NHL’s top netminder, once for the Ted Lindsay award as the most outstanding player as voted by the players, and once for the William Jennings Trophy as a goalie on the team that allowed the fewest goals in the regular season.

OK, he did have to share that last one with Corey Crawford. But you get the idea.

Simplistic as it sounds, Montreal’s season was mostly about Price, in that the Habs went as far as their star goalie would take them. Sure, other Canadiens played integral roles — Max Pacioretty scored 37 goals, P.K. Subban was a Norris Finalist — but for the most part, the 50 wins and 110 points and second-round playoff appearance was due to No. 31.

Which begs the question:

Can he do it again?

Off-season recap

GM Marc Bergevin’s spent most of the summer attending to in-house business. All three of his trade deadline pickups — Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell and Jeff Petry — were extended, with Petry scoring the biggest with a six-year, $33 million deal.

Youngsters Alex Galchenyuk, Michael Bournival, Jarred Tinordi, Christian Thomas, Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu were also given new deals, while veterans Mike Weaver, Sergei Gonchar, Manny Malhotra and P.A. Parenteau (via buyout) were sent packing.

As for new faces? Zack Kassian was acquired from Vancouver in exchange for Brandon Prust, while Carolina castoff Alex Semin was signed to a one-year, $1.1M deal after the ‘Canes bought him out.

At the draft, Montreal used its first-round pick to select WHL Everett blueliner Noah Juulsen 26th overall.

All in all, it was a perfunctory offseason for the Habs. Firmly in the mix as an Eastern Conference contender, the club didn’t feel the need to make a big summer splash — in fact, based on the Flynn and Mitchell and Petry contracts, it could be argued that Bergevin’s upgrading happened on Mar. 2, not July 1.

Habs re-sign Bournival: one year, $600,000

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
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The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed RFA forward Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level, per TVA.

Bournival, 23, split last season between Montreal and the club’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton, scoring five points in 29 games with the Habs. He failed to appear in any postseason games after playing in 14 during the Canadiens’ run to the 2014 Eastern Conference final.

Last year was a bit of a setback for Bournival, especially after scoring seven goals and 14 points in 60 games during his rookie campaign.

What’s more, things don’t promise to get any easier next season as the Habs retained the services of their two trade deadline pickups — forwards Bryan Flynn and Torrey Mitchell. That adds to an already crowded group that only saw two significant departures this offseason: P.A. Parenteau, who was bought out of his contract, and Manny Malhotra, who wasn’t brought back in free agency.

Habs re-sign deadline pickup Flynn: two years, $1.9 million

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs

After a short cameo at the end of last season, Brian Flynn has re-upped in Montreal.

On Monday, the Habs announced they signed Flynn to a two-year, $1.9 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $950,000. A serviceable depth forward, Flynn was set to become a restricted free agent but avoids that route with this deal, which represents a slight pay raise from his previous contract.

The former Sabre, who had three points in six playoff games for the Habs last year, is the latest of GM Marc Bergenvin’s trade deadline pickups to stick in Montreal.

Previously, the Canadiens signed d-man Jeff Petry — acquired from Edmonton at the deadline — to a six-year, $33 million extension. Torrey Mitchell — who,  like Flynn also came over from Buffalo — agreed to a new contract shortly after Petry, inking for $3.6 million over three years.

With those three now locked in and P.A. Parenteau bought out of his contract, Bergevin can focus on other tasks at hand — specifically, new deals for RFA forward Alex Galchenyuk and blueliner Jarred Tinordi.

Christian Thomas, a winger that’s spent most of his time in AHL Hamilton, also needs a new deal.

Habs hand Torrey Mitchell a three-year deal reportedly worth $3.6M

Torrey Mitchell, Ben Bishop

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was once considered a prankster, yet he doesn’t seem like a procrastinator. He continued his run of early offseason work on Monday, signing depth forward Torrey Mitchell to a three-year deal.

Various reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tab the deal at $3.6 million total, or $1.2 million per season.

Whatever the final cap ceiling will be, it doesn’t look like Montreal will have much space to make splashes in free agency this summer (unless they move away some salary). Bergevin gave up much of Montreal’s breathing room in re-signing Mitchell, Jeff Petry and Nathan Beaulieu.

Some wonder if three years is too much term for Mitchell, 30, although the money isn’t disastrous. He’s seeing a noteworthy drop in cap hit from $1.9 million, actually.

Bergevin can’t just go fishing all summer just yet, however, as the Habs still need to sign rising RFA Alex Galchenyuk (and also do that whole “drafting” thing). Many of the team’s pending moves have been settled pretty early on, though.