The Montreal Canadiens have added some depth ahead of next month’s training camp, as they’ve given Eric Gelinas a professional tryout.
Gelinas, 26, split last season between the AHL and NHL. He had three goals and nine assists in 27 games with the San Antonio Rampage, and one assist in 27 contests with the Colorado Avalanche.
Like most players on a PTO, he’ll face an uphill battle to make the final roster. The good news, is that the left side of Montreal’s defense has gone through some pretty significant changes this off-season.
Both Andrei Markov and Nathan Beaulieu are gone. They’ve been replaced by Karl Alzner and David Schlemko. The Candiens also brought in KHL blue liner Jakub Jerabek and they signed Joe Morrow and Mark Streit in free agency. Brandon Davidson, who the Habs acquired at the trade deadline, is also back.
Prior to joining the Canadiens, Gelinas admitted that his poor season is the reason why more teams weren’t interested in his services.
“It’s a little disappointing in a sense, but I have no one to blame but myself…I didn’t have a good season,” Gelinas told NHL.com earlier this month (quotes have been translated).
“I had less opportunities (in Colorado), but it was up to me to make the most of the opportunities they gave me, and it didn’t work out. In December, my agent and I decided that I should go to the minors to play more and have more responsibility.”
With Alzner, Davidson and Schlemko locks to make the final roster (unless there’s a trade), that potentially leaves one spot available if they decide to keep eight defensemen. It’ll be interesting to see which player emerges from camp with that position.
Things are a little different on the opposite side of the blue line. The Canadiens are pretty much set on the right side, as they’ll roll with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn (a lefty who played the right side last season) and Streit (another lefty that usually plays on the right side).