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By Andrew Rankin
The P.E.I. Rocket’s all-time leading scorer is going to try to make the Montreal Canadiens.
“You grow up watching this team, and to be given this opportunity . . . I’m pretty happy,” Ben Duffy said Sunday.
Duffy, a Lower Sackville, N.S., native, and Stephen MacAulay, a Cole Harbour, N.S., native who played for the Saint John Sea Dogs and Halifax Mooseheads this past season, confirmed Sunday they have signed 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 Rocket. “It’s really exciting; it’s a great organization.”
The weeklong 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 University of 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 never signed after being drafted by the St. Louis Blues, capturing his second Memorial Cup and third President Cup with Halifax this year.
The 21-year-old forward attended training camp with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, last year but failed to make the team.
This time around, he said, he’ll arrive at camp with an open mind, confident 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 Gerald Gallant, a Summerside native, 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.”