Last September, Michael Bournival came to training camp a longshot to make the Canadiens and simply wouldn’t let anyone ignore him. He scored twice against Buffalo in the first exhibiton game, wound up playing in six of the seven preseason games with 4 goals and an assist and won a job.
This training camp version of Bournival is right wing Christian Thomas who also refuses to go away.
Friday night in Ottawa, Thomas will make his fifth start in the Habs sixth pre-season game. He leads all camp scoring with a goal and three assists. His speed and effort has been a revelation to all, especially the coaching staff which barely saw himlast year because of a sports hernia injury suffered early in camp.
In the third period of Wednesday’s game against Chicago, Thomas replaced Jiri Sekac on what was assumed to be a set line with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque. Almost immediately Tomas set up Bourque for the game’s first goal. With Eller and Sekac not making the trip to Ottawa, Thomas is going to get another chance to shine with Bourque on a line centered by another rookie, Jacob de la Rosa.
Thomas is part of a deeper talent pool than the one Bournival faced last year. By all accounts Sekac is ahead of him on the right wing depth chart but thinking has been known to radically change in the final days of training camp. Last September, it did for Bournival.
….Five training camp prospects are in Ottawa along with the veterans; Thomas and de la Rose plus defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski will also be in the lineup but probably won’t see action. Peter Budaj who is expected to play the entire game. (Canadiens/Senators lines below)
….Centre Gabriel Dumont and defenseman Davis Drewiske cleared waivers at noon Friday and joined the Hamilton Bulldogs camp.
….As expected, after signing a two-way Canadiens contract (575K/150K) Drayson Bowman has been placed on waivers. If he clears he will also report to the Bulldogs.
….With the transfers of Dumont, Drewiske and Bowman the Canadiens have 27 players remaining in camp.
…. Not on the Ottawa trip – Carey Price, Andrei Markov, Mike Weaver, Francis Bouillon, Lars Eller, Michael Bournival, Jiri Sekac and Brandon Prust,
….Over the last 24 hours the Senators announced the naming of Erik Karlsson as their new captain and the signing of forward Bobby Ryan to a long term contract.
….Ottawa changes. Jason Spezza traded to Dallas for forward Alex Chiasson on two prospects. Free agent Ales Hemsky signed with Dallas. Other departures – Joe Corvo and Matt Kassian. In addition to Chiasson, the Senators signed David Legwand who played for Detroit at the end of last season.
…..The Canadiens play the seventh and final exhibition game against Ottawa Saturday night at the Bell Centre. Through the first five games their training camp record is 4-1-0.
…..The Hamilton Bulldogs opened their pre-season schedule Thursday in Grand Falls Newfoundland with a 3-2 win over the St John’s IceCaps. Charles Hudon and Daniel Carr, playing on a line with Tim Bozon, each scored a goal and an assist for Hamilton. The teams meet again Friday in Gander Newfoundland before moving to St. John’s for the final game Sunday.
Projected Lines vs. Ottawa
67-Pacioretty 51-Desharnais 15-Parenteau
17-Bourque 25-de la Rose 60-Thomas
27-Galchenyuk 14-Plekanec 11-Gallagher
32-Moen 20-Malhotra 22-Weise
The Ottawa Lines
16-MacArthur 7-Turris 61-Stone
6-Ryan 93-Zibanejad 90-Chiasson
9-Michalek 17-Legwand 25-Neil
68-Hoffman 27-Lazar 22-Condra