Unheralded rookie grabs the attention of fans and media alike by tearing up the early stages of training camp to everyone’s surprise the coaching staff sends him back to the minors.
Michaël Bournival has a very good chance of being this year’s version of that player.
Granted, the hard-working Bournival has had a heck of a training camp and has shown signs of being close to a breakthrough of sorts but, before we get too excited, there are some things that Canadiens management and coaches are considering in their evaluation.
First – In his three exhibition games Bournival has been playing against a mish-mash of minor leaguers, juniors and NHL veterans who are taking their own time rounding into game shape.
Secondly – In the past, Bournival has never been a ‘goalscorer’, or even a big point producer. Last year he had only 10 goals and 30 points in 69 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, which would lead one to think this year’s training camp is probably an anomaly.
The third factor is a matter roster space. Even if he continues to dominate when the competition intensifies in the final two or three training camp games, then the Canadiens have to make room. Who does he bump? Ryan White? Travis Moen? George Parros? Is he more NHL-ready than Gabriel Dumont?
Bournival has NHL potential, we can all see that. But, barring a serious rash of injuries, I expect that Bournival will be in Hamilton to start the season.
All of that said, the fact that Bournival is with the Canadiens at all, makes for a fascinating reading.
The Canadiens went into the 2010 Entry draft in Los Angeles with the 27th choice in the first and second rounds and no third round picks because Bob Gainey had traded it to Atlanta as part of the deal that brought them defenceman Mathieu Schneider. On Trevor Timmins advice, at the draft table Pierre Gauthier traded his first and second round picks so he could move up five spots and draft Jarred Tinordi 22nd overall. The result was, after drafting 22nd, 91 players were taken by other teams before had their next pick in the fourth round. For a franchise that believes in bottom-up player development, missing out on that kind of talent can be damaging. Now we move ahead four months to November. The Colorado Avalanche have three of their defencemen out with concussions. They reach out to the Canadiens who have made Ryan O’Byrne a healthy scratch for 12 straight games. Gauthier traded O’Byrne in return for the Avalanche’s Bournival, who was undoubtedly on Timmins’ June list and became Colorado’s third round pick – 71st overall. So, after appearing to throw all of their eggs into the Tinordi basket, the Canadiens fill in a gap in their prospect roll.
We still have a ways to go before we close the book but the 2010 draft year may be one of Trevor Timmins best ever drafts. He traded up for Tinordi at 22nd overall; recommended the Bournival trade (71st); Mark MacMillan 113th (Still @ U of ND), defenceman Morgan Ellis 117th, and Brendan Gallagher 147th. So far the only failure was Swedish forward John Westin, his final pick at 207th . Westin was never signed. Also from the class of 2010 is prospect Patrick Holland who was acquired from Calgary while still playing junior, as part of the Cammalleri deal.