The Canadiens continued to build up roster depth on the Hamilton Bulldogs with the signing of forward Justin Courtnall and defenceman Matt Grassi Monday.
The 6’3″, 212 lb. old Courtnall is the son of former NHL forward Geoff Courtnall. He signed a one-year two-way AHL/ECHL contract. Last year he split his first pro season between the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays where he scored 5 goals and 9 points in 44 games and the AHL’s Providence Bruins where he had 0 points in five games. Prior to that he played three season with the NCAA’s Boston University Terriers. He is the fifth player signed by the Bulldogs to two-way ECHL/AHL contracts. Courtnall was originally drafted 210th overall in the 2007 Entryt Draft by Tampa Bay. Former Canadiens forward Russ Courtnall is his uncle.
Grassi, a big 6’4″ 220 pound defender was undrafted. He was brought into the Hamilton Bulldog camp on an amateur tryout contract after completing his college career with Michigan State. He played three games without registering a point. Five of the seven defencemen on the Bulldogs roster are now righthand shots including holdovers Morgan Ellis and Greg Pateryn plus rookies Darren Dietz, Magnus Nygren and Grassi.
The Bulldogs will have a very competive training camp with 28 players vying for 23 spots on their roster, including 17 forwards, 7 defencemen and 4 goaltenders. The Canadiens have until Thursday to sign Dartmouth College graduate Dustin Walsh. If unsigned by August 15th, the big centreman will become an unrestricted free agent. There is also the matter of goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who remains a restricted free agent.
The Hamilton Bulldogs Depth Chart
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Christian Thomas Louis Leblanc Patrick Holland
Erik Nystrom *** Joonas Nattinen Steve Quailer
Stephen MacAuley*++ Michael Bournival Mike Blunden
Justin Courtnall++ Gabriel Dumont Sven Andrighetto*
—— Martin St. Pierre** Stefan Fournier*
—— Nick Tarnasky**
—— Stefan Chaput ++
—— Ben Duffy*++
Nathan Beaulieu Morgan Ellis
Drew Schiestel**++ Darren Dietz*
—— Greg Pateryn
—— Magnus Nygren*
— Matt Grassi*
Dustin Tokarski (Unsigned RFA)
* = Rookie Season
** = Free Agent Signing
*** = 25 game Pro Tryout
++ = AHL/ECHL Contract