A good indication of the future for NHL teams can be how their farm teams in the AHL are doing. The development of young prospects usually happens at this level. If we are to follow along this logic then the future doesn’t look so great for the Montreal Canadiens. Their farm team is located in Hamilton, Ontario and called the Bulldogs. The Hamilton Bulldogs are in last place (5th) in the North Division and in last place (15th) in the Western Conference. Take heart though as despite their woeful season so far there are some reasons to go see the Bulldogs when they take on the Rochester Americans at the Bell Centre this weekend.
The Hamilton Bulldogs are struggling because a couple of players who should, due to age, be playing with them are up with the Canadiens. Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher should be playing with the Bulldogs this season, but have evolved so quickly that they are playing in the NHL and doing well, so it doesn’t seem like they will be back. Despite the fact that these two players are gone from the farm team there are still some players to look out for as they will be with the Canadiens in years to come. A couple of defensemen were taken by the Habs with fairly high draft picks. Nathan Beaulieu and Jared Tinordi are two players that the organization are high on for two different reasons. Jared Tinordi is a big guy who is excellent in his own end, not afraid to throw his weight around and a leader. Nathan Beaulieu will be relied on for his offense. He is actually 4th on the Hamilton leading scorer list so far this season with 16 points in 48 games. Other players to keep your eye on include team leading scorer Gabriel Dumont, who is a pesky two way centre, Michael Bournival, a centreman that the Habs obtained in the Ryan O’Byrne trade with Colorado, and Louis Leblanc, a Montreal native who played with the Canadiens for a good part of last season.
It will not be an easy game for Hamilton as the Rochester Americans (farm team of the Buffalo Sabres) are doing well this season. They are 3rd in the North Division and 7th in the Western Conference with 57 points in 48 games. Players that Hamilton will have to watch out for include: center Kevin Porter (9th overall score in the AHL), right wing Mark Mancari (43 points in 48 games), defenseman T.J. Brennan (7 power play goals), and right wing Brian Flynn (32 points in 48 games).
-Date: February 22, 2013
-Venue: Bell Centre
-Ticket Purchase: www.evenko.ca
-Ticket Prices: $15.50, $29.50, $39.50, $49.50, $69.50 (plus handling charges)
-Game Time: 7:30 p.m.