by Rick Stephens,

Photo by Rick Stephens / All Habs

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.

Photo by Rick Stephens / All Habs

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

Daniel Pribyl

Etienne Brodeur

Mac Bennett

Nathan Beaulieu



    • Your welcome Yves. While some feel that the development camp is less than exciting I find it as an ideal opportunity to gain insight on Habs prospects.

  1. Thanks for the information on Pateryn. I am hoping he will be a 3/4/5 defenceman for the Habs in the not too distant future. Maybe he and Bennett with form a tandem in a couple of seasons

    • Your welcome Steve. Pateryn is well-matched with Bennett. His steady, physical stay-at-home style compliments Bennett’s offensive style. I am less optimistic regarding the ceiling for Pateryn but would happily be wrong if he develops into a top-4 rearguard.

  2. I would be happy if Pateryn ended up being a solid number 5. I just want to see some bigger guys with sandpaper on the back end! Tinordi will be fun to watch in a few years. I still say the Habs should trade Weber for Nick Petriciki in San jose. He is the same age as Subban, is a lefty and he is mean and physical, and big. They would make a great tandem for a few years. It would stop the other teams from running Subban! I hope Shultz makes the team too. He said all the right things about wanting to be the Habs version of Lucic, I’d like to see if he can!

    • I know what you are getting at Steve. The Habs desperately need a big nasty defenseman. Valentenko could have been that guy but Carbonneau chased him away to do a favour for his friend Brisebois. O’Byrne didn’t have the meanness quotient but was effective at clearing the net. Gauthier made a terrible trade because Martin wouldn’t use O’B.

      I think you are tremendously undervaluing Weber…he is a very good asset. Most agree that Petrecki has been a huge disappointment for a first round pick. Granted, big defensemen take longer to develop but Petrecki is not on a good trajectory. He had a terrible rookie season and only marginally better last year with Worcester. He’s not a bad skater but a half-step slow, lacks any offensive game but most disturbing to me, doesn’t play smart — he’s a master of the bad penalty.

      I would love to see Schultz succeed but he has been a disappointment every time I’ve seen him. He has size, average skating and decent hands for a big guy. But his stamina and conditioning are awful. Unless his work ethic increases dramatically (to at least match his rhetoric) he will be a career AHL’er.

  3. Thanks for all the information. I did not know Petrecki had slipped so much. I do value Weber, I just think that the Habs have too many players like him in the system. Mathieu Carle being one of them, although if he doesn’t make it this year, he may end up being moved to get an opportunity elsewhere.

    You would think I player like Shultz would get that he needs to work on his conditioning. Maybe they should make him spend the summer with Markov and Darche!!

    I also felt trading O’Byrne was a mistake. I will go on the record now as saying I was never a fan of Jacques Martin and I wish they had never hired him. I listened to his press conferences in Ottawa after every defeat, and all he basically said was that it was good learning experience, and they would gain from it. They never did. With the team he had in Ottawa, they should have won. Tampa didn’t need such a long learning curve to ” get it”

    • Excellent comments Steve! You’re right about Carle. There’s really not a place in the organization for him any longer. Nash easily surpassed him last year as the best defenseman in Hamilton. It seems that Carle’s development has plateaued. I know that some will blame injuries but there were signs prior that he had reached his ceiling. Many expected him to be traded at the deadline, myself included. I was further surprised when he received a qualifying offer. Undoubtedly this is his last year to prove that he deserves a spot — he hasn’t earned one.

  4. Thanks for your replies. I enjoy your comments! I had forgot about Nash. He is a bigger body and he did look like he belonged when he was called up last season. Do you have any insight on Avtsin?

    • Occasionally I do get things right. :) As mentioned, I didn’t see a place in the organization for Carle. You’re probably right about Mitera. He hasn’t been the same since his ACL injury and as a result has never lived up to his first round expectations. But I like the move. Mitera is a big body, a good skater and can succeed in a shut-down role. He’ll fill a void for the Bulldogs.

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