BROSSARD – The Canadiens issued special invitations to just two players to take part in the team’s development camp this week and the duo has every intention of sticking around as long as possible.
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft came and went and Etienne Brodeur and Josh McFadden weren’t among the 211 young prospects who heard their names called at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. Now they’re out to prove the scouts wrong.
Despite racking up 72 points in 69 games with the Sudbury Wolves this season, McFadden still wasn’t holding his breath when Draft Day finally arrived this June. But when Pierre Gauthier came calling, McFadden jumped at the chance to make an impression on the Habs GM.
“I didn’t even know the Canadiens were interested in me, but as soon as they contacted me I said yes right away,” recalled the 19-year-old defenseman. “I knew they were looking to add some depth to the blue line in Hamilton so this is the perfect situation for me.”
McFadden’s story is one Brodeur can relate to all too well. After setting the QMJHL on fire and leading the league in scoring, the Varennes, QC native was left on the outside looking in when the Draft came to a close.
“Right after, my agent called me to tell me I had been invited to the Canadiens’ development camp,” marveled the Chicoutimi Saguenéens winger. “I didn’t even ask if there was any interest from other teams – once he said ‘Canadiens’, that was all I needed to hear.”
Pulling on his CH jersey just steps from where Canadiens center David Desharnais
sits during the year, Brodeur won’t have to look far for inspiration. Undrafted and overlooked in 2004, Desharnais hardly took the easy road to the NHL. Now, the 24-year-old is coming in to the 2011-12 campaign armed with a two year deal and 49 NHL games under his belt.
“When you’re small like we are, you have to dominate in every other area or you’ll get passed over,” admitted Brodeur, who is one inch taller than Desharnais at 5-foot-9. “More and more in the NHL, smaller guys are making an impact – look at guys like Brian Gionta
or Nathan Gerbe. Since the lockout with less hooking and holding, smaller, faster guys have an advantage.”
Already planning their next trip to Montreal to take part in the Canadiens’ rookie camp, McFadden and Brodeur both know they might need to take the scenic route to the NHL, but they’re ready to keep earning their invitations one step at a time. Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis. See also:
Wolf pack First steps Habs acquire Michael Blunden from Columbus in return for Ryan Russell 12 players to take part in the second part of the Development Camp