If you think the Montreal Canadiens‘ goaltending is in good shape, look even deeper into their system, says Don Cherry.
Grapes had only good things to say about the Habs’ goalie prospects (and their scouting department) on Saturday night’s Coach’s Corner. He began with Canada’s win at the Spengler Cup and the play of Zach Fucale, the Canadiens’ second round pick at the 2013 draft.
“Here’s the guy I like, Fucale,” said Cherry. “He plays for the Brampton Beast of the ECHL and he is a dandy. Guess who owns [his rights]? It’s Montreal, believe it.”
Canada defeated HC Lugano, a Swiss club, Saturday for its second straight title at the tournament.
“Coach Luke Richardson did a great job,” said Don. “They throw [players] together and go over there and beat them and that’s the way to do it. Canadian Heart!”
And as Cherry is ever-present at junior hockey games in the Greater Toronto Area, he talked about watching a recent OHL game between the Owen Sound Attack and North Bay Battalion where he watched another Habs prospect steal the show.
“I watched Owen Sound beat the Battalion and again, I saw that Michael McNiven who is unbelievable,” he said. “He was undrafted, and guess who went and signed him? You’ll never believe it, Montreal again! Whoever the [scout] is in Montreal, the guy should get a bonus.”
McNiven is in his third year with the Attack, boasting a record this season of 17-7 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He was among the last Team Canada cuts for this year’s world junior championship.
But it was the comment he snuck in during the segment that was rather newsworthy.
“I had Carey Price in the [annual CHL] prospect game and I thought he was terrific. This guy [McNiven] is as good as Price right now.”
That’s high praise and big shoes to fill for an all-star NHLer who made this save Saturday night:
Your move, McNiven.