Ben Duffy and Stephen MacAulay are getting a shot with the Montreal Canadiens.
MacAulay, a Cole Harbour native, and Duffy, of Lower Sackville, confirmed Sunday that they have been signed to tryout contracts with the Habs.
“I don’t have all the details yet,” said Duffy who led the QMJHL in scoring last season with the P.E.I. Rocket. “It’s really exciting; it’s a great organization.”
The week-long rookie camp starts on July 1. Duffy, an undrafted forward, recognizes the magnitude of the opportunity but he’s not putting too much pressure on himself.
“I’ll just go there and do my best,” said Duffy, who is expected to play for the New Brunswick Varsity Reds after exhausting his pro options. “Right now I’m working on getting stronger, improving my puck control and puck protection.”
MacAulay, who was drafted by the St. Louis Blues but never signed, split his junior career with the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Halifax Mooseheads, capturing his second Memorial Cup and third President Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads last year.
The 21-year-old forward attended training camp with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, last year but failed to crack a roster spot with the team.
This time around he says he’ll arrive at camp with an open mind, confident that he’s developed into a more complete player.
“I feel really good and I think I developed another dimension to my game,” said MacAulay. “I have a good two-way game but I think I’ve shown that I can put the puck in the net too.”
Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant was MacAulay’s former head coach with the Sea Dogs and played a role in the team’s decision to invite MacAulay to camp.
Ultimately he’d like to play in the NHL but he’s approaching the journey step by step.
“I know where I want to be next, and that’s in the AHL and I think that’s a realistic goal,” MacAulay said.