BROSSARD – After making a march to the Eastern Conference finals with the Rangers, left-winger, Brandon Prust will don a Canadiens jersey for the 2012-13 campaign.
With their biggest free-agent acquisition of the day, the Canadiens have added some major grit up front, bringing on board Rangers fan-favorite Brandon Prust. After developing a reputation as a character player for the Blueshirts, the 28-year-old forward should fit right in with Travis Moen and Ryan White, helping the team establish a tougher identity next season.
“The team is heading in the right direction and I know I’ll be able to play a part in that. I want to be part of that transition,” said Prust, in reference to the recent changes in the organization’s front office.
“What I took away from our conversation today was that he wanted more of a physical aspect brought to the team,” continued Prust, on his conversation with Habs GM, Marc Bergevin. “I think it’s good for the identity of the group to have more team toughness. When a team walks into our arena they should know they’ve got a long night ahead of them.”
Also upping the ante in the sandpaper department, the London, ON native finished the 2011-12 campaign with 20 fighting majors under his belt, enough to tie him with the Bruins’ Shawn Thornton for the league lead in scraps.
“I know [Marc] wants to add a bit more physicality. You can’t just have a lineup full of skill guys – you need to have a bit of everything,” explained Prust. “I think the team was missing a player like me in the lineup. There’s Travis Moen there right now who plays a similar type of game as I do. But him and White were a little bit alone there on that front. Adding me to bring more of a physical presence to the team was an important step. It’ll make all of our jobs easier in the future.”
Sweetening the deal that helped bring the former-Ranger to the Canadiens was the fact that Prust will already have a familiar face waiting to greet him when he arrives in Montreal.
“My girlfriend is from Montreal and works and lives there. I visited the city a lot over the last couple of years,” continued Prust, who will call the Canadian city his home for the next four years. “It’s a great place with a great ambiance. It’s an amazing hockey town, too.”
Adding to his gritty style on the ice, Prust also brings durability to the lineup – which suits the Canadiens just fine after the team was decimated by injuries last year. The left winger hasn't missed a game in two seasons, posting career highs in goals (13) and points (29) with New York in 2010-11.
Prust was originally drafted 70th
overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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