Canadiens assign eight skaters to Bulldogs


bulldogsThe National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens have sent eight more players to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. Five forwards and three defencemen will join the Bulldogs training camp.

Those assigned to Hamilton are forwards Mike Blunden, Martin St. Pierre, Christian Thomas, Nick Tarnasky and Patrick Holland, as well as defencemen Magnus Nygren, Darren Dietz and Greg Pateryn. Blunden, Holland and Pateryn played for the Bulldogs in 2012-13.

Blunden, 26, split last season between Hamilton and Montreal. In 54 regular season games with Hamilton, the 6’4”, 214-pound forward recorded 10 goals and 12 assists and 76 penalty minutes. In five regular season games with Montreal, the Toronto native had no points and four penalty minutes.

In 311 regular season AHL games, Blunden has recorded 150 points (65 goals, 85 assists) and 382 penalty minutes. In 95 regular season NHL games, Blunden has eight points (four goals, four assists) and 100 penalty minutes. He was originally selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

St. Pierre, 30, spent last season as captain of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. In 76 regular season games with Rockford, the 5’9”, 187-pound forward recorded 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) and 59 penalty minutes. In 516 regular season AHL games, the Ottawa native has 528 points (151 goals, 377 assists) and 509 penalty minutes. In 38 regular season NHL games, the undrafted forward has recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) and 12 penalty minutes.

Thomas, 21, split last season between the AHL’s Connecticut Whale and the NHL’s New York Rangers. In 73 regular season games with Connecticut, the 5’9”, 170-pound forward has 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) and 15 penalty minutes. In one regular season game with New York, the Toronto native recorded no points and no penalty minutes.

Before turning pro, Thomas played 244 regular season Ontario Hockey League games with the London Knights and Oshawa Generals, recording 257 points (137 goals, 120 assists) and 91 penalty minutes. He and his father, Steve Thomas, are the only father-son duo to both score 50 goals in an OHL season. He was originally selected by the New York Rangers in the second round (40th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Tarnasky, 28, spent last season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. In 74 regular season games with Rochester, the 6’2”, 230-pound forward had 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) and 138 penalty minutes. In 293 career regular season AHL games, the Rocky Mountain House, Alberta native has recorded 89 points (47 goals, 42 assists) and 571 penalty minutes. In 245 regular season NHL games, Tarnasky has recorded 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) and 297 penalty minutes.

He was originally selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the ninth round (287th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Holland, 21, spent last season with Hamilton. In 69 regular season games with Hamilton, the 6’0”, 175-pound forward recorded 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and eight penalty minutes. Before turning pro, the Lethbridge, Alberta native played 205 regular season Western Hockey League games with the Tri-City Americans, recording 208 points (63 goals, 145 assists) and 86 penalty minutes. He was originally selected by the Calgary Flames in the seventh round (193rd overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Nygren, 23, won the Salming Trophy (named after ex-Toronto Maple Leafs great Borje Salming) as defenceman of the year in the Swedish Elite League last season. In 51 regular season games with Farjestad BK, the 6’1”, 193-pound defenceman recorded 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) and 49 penalty minutes. In 132 regular season SEL games, the Karlstad, Sweden native has recorded 65 points (24 goals, 41 assists) and 63 penalty minutes. He was selected by the Canadiens in the fourth round (113th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Dietz, 20, spent last season with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. In 72 regular season games, the 6’1”, 204-pound defenceman recorded 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) and 100 penalty minutes. In 220 regular season WHL games with Saskatoon, the Medicine Hat, Alberta native recorded 131 points (48 goals, 83 assists) and 288 penalty minutes. He was selected by Montreal in the fifth round (138th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Pateryn, 23, split last season between Hamilton and Montreal. In 39 games with Hamilton, the 6’2”, 219-pound defenceman recorded 12 points (seven goals, five assists) and 27 penalty minutes. In three regular season games with Montreal, the Sterling Heights, Michigan native recorded no points and no penalty minutes. Before turning pro, Pateryn played 142 regular season National Collegiate Athletic Association games with the University of Michigan Wolverines, recording 43 points (six goals, 37 assists) and 145 penalty minutes.

He was originally selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round (128th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

These latest assignments bring Hamilton’s training camp roster to 41 players – 23 forwards, 14 defencemen, and four goaltenders. Camp invitee goaltender Chris Festarini, has been assigned to the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Hamilton’s first pre-season game will be played on Friday (Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. when they will host the Toronto Marlies at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville. The Bulldogs regular season and home opener is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. against the St. John’s IceCaps at Copps Coliseum.