BROSSARD - The Canadiens’ annual Development Camp got underway for real on Monday morning as prospects took to the ice at the Bell Sports Complex to strut their stuff.
It was the first time members of the Canadiens’ 2014 draft class had the opportunity to show what they could do in Montreal. Nikita Scherbak and Daniel Audette were among those in attendance, and both were ecstatic about the week-long experience.
“I still can’t believe it sometimes,” affirmed Scherbak, who was the Habs’ first-round pick in 2014 at No. 26 overall. “It’s been a crazy day. It’s my dream to play in the NHL. Montreal is the best team in the NHL. The fans understand hockey. It’s great.”
Audette shared similar thoughts on Day 2.
“It’s a lot of fun to be out there on the ice with players who’ve already suited up for the Canadiens like Nathan Beaulieu and other good guys,” offered Audette, who was selected in the fifth-round of the NHL Draft a little over a week ago. “It’s a great experience to be with players like that, and to walk around in the Canadiens dressing room. My father told me to have fun, to take it all in, and showcase what I’m capable of doing on the ice.”
For Development Camp veterans, the time has come to prove that they’re ready to join the team for good in October. That’s what Nathan Beaulieu has in mind this time around on the strength of his impressive postseason performance.
“There are always opportunities and surprises at camp,” mentioned Beaulieu. “I just try to be a difference-maker on the ice. If an opportunity presents itself, I won’t let it slip through my fingers. I just need to prove that I’m ready to play.”
Jiri Sekac was also privy to a new experience on Monday after being acquired by Marc Bergevin when the free-agent market opened on July 1.
“I had a good season back home and I think that’s the reason why I received so many offers,” suggested the 22-year-old Czech forward, who registered 11 goals and 28 points in 47 games with Lev Prague in the KHL last season. “I came here to meet people and see how things work. Like many of the guys here, I hope I can be the guy to play for the Montreal Canadiens.”
The players will hit the ice once again on Monday, taking part in a scrimmage at 4 p.m. EST.