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Rusnak: Canadiens invite 23 rookies to main camp

Jessica Rusnak
9/9/2013 5:58:21 PM
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A few hours after the conclusion of the Habs Rookie Camp on Monday, the Canadiens management announced they've decided to invite 23 of the 40 rookies to attend their main camp that starts on September 11.

For the most part, the players they chose to invite were not all that shocking. All their prospects that are under contract were invited but there were a few interesting moves. One of those moves was keeping Stephen MacAulay, who signed a one-year AHL contract with the Bulldogs this offseason and was the only player with an AHL contract that was asked to stay. MacAulay won the Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads last season and his performance this past week definitely earned him a spot at the main camp.

Defenceman Dalton Thrower, who was selected 51st overall by the Habs at the 2012 Draft, was invited despite not having signed an entry-level contract with the club. A player doesn't need a contract to be invited to main camp but the Canadiens seem to be taking their time with the North Vancouver native.

Thrower had a difficult year with his junior team, the Saskatoon Blades last season, which eventually led to him getting traded to the Vancouver Giants this summer. He received a lot of media attention as well after getting suspended for the rest of the Memorial Cup for his hit on Taylor Leier of the Portland Winterhawks.

Without signing a contract with the Canadiens, Thrower will be forced to return to the WHL as a 20-year-old. If he can earn himself a contract over the next few days, then he can turn pro this season and will most likely play with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

General manager Marc Bergevin was asked on Sunday if he was contemplating offering a contract to Thrower and said if he earns it, he will but did mention that Thrower is a right-handed defenceman and they have quite a few already on the team. However, with Bergevin deciding to keep him around, this could bring Thrower one step closer to becoming a professional hockey player.

A player who was left off the list was Brady Vail, a forward for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL who was the Habs 94th draft pick in 2012. Once the Spitfires season was finished last year, he played 12 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, picking up a goal and three assists. Vail has not signed an entry-level contract with the Habs and wasn't all that noticeable at rookie camp. Therefore, it's pretty understandable why he was sent back to Windsor.

The rookies have the day off on Tuesday and will be back at it on Wednesday, but this time with the big boys.

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