The Canadiens have established a record for beating the bushes looking for unsigned or undrafted hockey talent. Last season alone they brought sixteen players into Hamilton on either amateur or professional tryout contracts. Two of them, centres Joey Tenute and Alex Belzile wound up signing regular contracts. In the past David Desharnais and Frederic St. Denis have come to the Canadiens via the tryout route.
The Canadiens will open their rookie camp on July first at their Brossard training facility and two QMJHL graduates, Stephen MacAuley and Ben Duffy have been invited under tryout contracts.
Duffy is the all-time scoring leader with the PEI Rockets and led the Quebec League in scoring with 39 goals and 71 assists in 68 games. Duffy is on the small side at 5’10” and 175 pounds and despite being blessed with great speed, he has never been drafted. Barring a professional contract he is committed to play for the University of New Brunswick next season.
Size is not MacAuley’s problem. He’s 6’2” and 182 lbs at last report. He was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 6th round of the 2010 draft but never signed. MacAuley has been a part of each of the last two Memorial Cup winning teams, St. John in 2012 and Halifax in 2013. Splitting last season between St. John and Halifax he scored 31 goals and 31 assists. Including the playoffs, MacAuley played 41 games with the Mooseheads scoring 21 goals, 46 points and had a plus-22 rating. Unlike Duffy, speed seems to be MacAuley’s problem at this stage of his development.