The Montreal Canadiens saw rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher find immediate success last season, and another prospect may soon be joining that young duo. Through three preseason games, rookie Michael Bournival has three goals and looks ready to crack the Canadiens lineup very soon. A third round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2010 draft, Borunival came to the Canadiens organization later that year in a trade for Ryan O’Byrne. After three seasons of being one of the top scoring threats for the Shawnigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, he turned pro last season and had 10 goals and 30 points in 69 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.
Bournival will likely head back to Hamilton to begin the season, but he definitely looks like one of the first call-ups in case of an injury in Montreal. He was a consistent point-per-game threat in juniors, and now looks to have improved after a season of adjusting to the game at the professional level. With fellow prospects Christian Thomas, Gabriel Dumont and Louis Leblanc also likely to join him in Hamilton, Bournival will need to keep scoring regularly if he hopes to stay on the Canadiens’ radar. Injuries were plentiful in Montreal last season, which allowed Dumont to get in a handful of games and young defensmen Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu to make their debuts.
The Canadiens were one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference last season, and with the strong preseason performance of Bournival and others showcasing their organizational depth they look to have a deep enough system to stay near the top of the conference for many years to come.