BROSSARD, Quebec -- Jayden Struble shifted allegiances to the Montreal Canadiens the moment his name was called at the 2019 NHL Draft.
The left-shot defenseman from Cumberland, Rhode Island, was a lifelong fan of the Boston Bruins until Montreal selected him in the second round (No. 46).
"Even my little brothers, they got the Canadiens hat and everything," Struble said at Canadiens development camp in June. "And there's a couple of friends that definitely are still Bruins fans, obviously. But they've got a new kind of respect for the [Canadiens] organization."
Struble (6-foot, 194 pounds) had 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in 28 games with St. Sebastian's School in Needham, Massachusetts, last season. He continued to impress at the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, ranking first in five of the 18 fitness tests, including the bench press, grip strength and standing long jump.
"I mean, this guy's built like a linebacker, so the strength is there," Canadiens director of player development Rob Ramage said. "He's raw, without a doubt … he's got a great attitude, you know, he's a workhorse."
Struble, who turns 18 on Sept. 8, will attend Northeastern University in Boston and play for coach Jim Madigan, a Montreal native, and with defenseman Jordan Harris, a third-round pick (No. 71) by the Canadiens in the 2018 NHL Draft.
"That's fun for us to have two guys on the same team," Ramage said.
Though excited to be a part of the Canadiens organization, Struble is happy to remain in Massachusetts for the time being.
"I definitely knew I wanted to stay in Boston," Struble said. "And I met the coaches once and kind of fell in love with it, you know, fell in love with the rink, fell in love with the area, fell in love with the campus. So I'm really excited."
Development camp was the first opportunity Ramage had to see Struble in action.
"I mean, he's a stud, but it's got to translate to on the ice, and so for him, it's just opening up the mind to being coached and being taught and buying into what he's going to have to do," said Ramage, a two-time Stanley Cup champion defenseman and the No. 1 pick in the 1979 NHL Draft. "And, you know, that's what we're still figuring out. You know it's a project and he's got a great attitude, so that's a good start there."
Struble, who got a direct message from Canadiens forward Max Domi after he was drafted and met Montreal coach Claude Julien, who won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011, is ready to go to work.
"I definitely think I have to improve on everything just to get to the next level," Struble said. "You know, adding some structure to my game. I feel like that's going to really be a big part of it. Moving forward, it's a faster game, you've got to make decisions quicker and be a little bit smarter with it. So just kind of developing in that aspect of the game is going to be big for me."
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