BROSSARD, QC.—Three years ago this week, former Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey made a trade sending mercurial Mikhail Grabovski to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The skilled but troubled forward had so worn out his welcome in Montreal that many Habs fans weren’t very concerned about the return – only that the Canadiens were rid of Grabovski. The Leafs sent a second round draft choice in 2010 (which would be flipped to Chicago for Robert Lang) and Greg Pateryn, a prospect taken 128th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry draft.
Pateryn spent the 2010-11 season manning the blue line for the University of Michigan being paired with fellow Canadiens prospect Mac Bennett. Pateryn was a stay-at-home rearguard, the Wolverines most physical defenseman capable of delivering punishing checks to CCHA forwards. In addition to backing up Bennett’s offensive rushes, Pateryn was a second-unit penalty-killer.
At Habs development camp, Pateryn has looked mature, steady and reliable. This Fall, he will return for his senior year at the University of Michigan where he will be an alternate captain.
It was time for a break from tedious skating drills as the highlight of Friday’s session was a 3-on-3 scrimmage. Pateryn captained Team White with Bennett leading Team Red. With fewer players, a shortened week and no goalies in camp, there has been a lack of a competitive atmosphere — that changed as soon as the scrimmage began.
The most intense player on the ice was Nathan Beaulieu whose high compete level was hard to ignore. Beaulieu chased down puck carriers, created offense, looked cool in traffic and even complained about non-calls – the game switch was definitely “on.” Beaulieu had a goal for Team Red.
Mac Bennett was dominant. He had the vision to make outstanding passes, showing leadership and poise throughout the game.
Daniel Pribyl showed that his top-level skill translated into results at game-time. Pribyl scored twice for Team White, one goal coming on a beautiful deke.
Etienne Brodeur may have some work to do to impress in the skating drills but when the puck drops he becomes a very dangerous offensive player. He seemed to be channelling his favourite Canadiens, Mike Cammalleri and David Desharnais. Brodeur scored twice for Team White and narrowly missed getting a third.
Brodeur’s roommate, Olivier Archambault, had the only other goal for Team Red. Josh McFadden was the most physical player on the ice.
In the end it was Bennett’s Team White defeating Pateryn’s Team Red 4-2.
All Habs game stars