Montreal Canadiens Prospects Begin Memorial Cup Tournament Tonight

KENT, WASHINGTON - JUNE 07: Kaiden Guhle (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)
KENT, WASHINGTON - JUNE 07: Kaiden Guhle (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens prospects enjoyed a lengthy playoff run in the American Hockey League with the Laval Rocket and a number of them also had strong postseasons with their respective Junior teams in the CHL.

While Xavier Simoneau, William Trudeau and Daniil Sobolev all fell short in the final round, three Habs prospects advanced to the Memorial Cup. Jan Mysak and Arber Xhekaj helped the Hamilton Bulldogs win the OHL trophy, and Kaiden Guhle was named WHL Playoff MVP as a key contributor for the Edmonton Oil Kings championship run.

Their season’s continue this week with the opening of the Memorial Cup in Saint John, New Brunswick. The tournament features four CHL teams, the champion of each Junior league, the WHL, OHL and QMJHL as well as a host team.

The Saint John Sea Dogs are playing host after losing in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs. The Shawinigan Cataractes also join the fold as the QMJHL champion to round out the field of four.

Each team will play each other in a round robin with the top team after that heading straight to the final game. If a team goes winless, they are automatically eliminated and the second and third place teams play in the semifinals. Otherwise, there is a tiebreaker game between the third and fourth seeds with the winner of that taking on the second best round robin team in the semi.

It all starts tonight with the host Sea Dogs taking on the powerhouse Hamilton Bulldogs. Xhekaj will play a huge role as he has all postseason for the Bulldogs. He plays a menacing style on the team’s back end and put up 16 points in 18 playoff games. If there were a defenceman of the playoffs award in the OHL, Xhekaj likely would have won it.

Mysak on the other hand wasn’t as terrific in the playoffs. He scored 34 goals and 64 points in 61 regular season games but didn’t score at that rate in the playoffs. The Habs second round pick from the 2020 NHL Draft had four goals and 11 points in 17 postseason contests for the Bulldogs.

Guhle’s Oil Kings will play their first game of the tournament tomorrow against the Cataractes. It will be interesting to watch the Habs first round pick try and shut down Shawinigan’s terrific top line of Mavrik Bourque, Xavier Bourgault and Olivier Nadeau.

That line gave everyone trouble in the QMJHL playoffs but no line was able to break through Guhle and the Oil Kings defence.

There is one game played every night throughout the round robin which wraps up on Saturday, June 25th. The seminal is on Monday, June 27th and the final game will be played on Wednesday, June 27th. Most games, including these first two, are at 6:00 PM EST and can be seen on TSN.

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