The Canadiens had four prospects among the players that took part in the Memorial Cup tournament last week more than any other NHL organization. Two of them were first round draft picks, Nathan Beaulieu (2011) and Jarred Tinordi (2010). The Canadiens acquired Michael Bournival, also a first round draft pick, from Colorado in return for Ryan O’Byrne. And there was Morgan Ellis.
You might call Ellis the figurative runt of the litter. He was still available late in the fourth round when the Canadiens finally took a flyer using the 117th overall pick.
Under the radar at 16, Ellis wasn’t thought of that way in December when Shawinigan gave up the farm for him, trading 16 year old Bronson Beaton, a second round 2012 pick and a first rounder in 2013 in order secure him. Ellis became the missing link in what became the Memorial Cup Championship team.
In the championship game it wasn’t Tinordi or Bournival who caught my eye, it was Morgan Ellis for many reasons. They don’t keep track of ice time in the Memorial Cup but it was my sense that Ellis (and his partner Brandon Gormley-a Phoenix first round pick)- played 45 of the 77 minutes it took to decide the championship for the Cataractes. Remarkably, this was also the Cataractes’ fourth game in five nights. Along with a solid shutdown job Ellis also drew the second assist in the goal that tied the game and ultimately sent it into overtime.
All of that said, the other three prospects had a good tournament as well. Tinordi joined Gormley on the Cup’s all-star defense. Bournival set up the Memorial Cup winning goal and finished with 3 goals and 4 assists in six games. Beaulieu had four assists in his four games before Shawinigan eliminated his team.
Three of the four, Ellis, Tinordi and Bournival are already under Canadiens contract and will be headed for Hamilton in the fall. It’s possible that Beaulieu will also be eligible to join the Bulldogs because of the technicality of his December birthdate.
The Statistics –
Michael Bournival – Shawinigan 6GP – 3 goals 4 assists – 7 points plus/minus – even
Morgan Ellis – Shawinigan 6 GP – 1 goal 4 assist – 5 points plus-2
Nathan Beaulieu – St. John – 4 GP – 0 goals 4 assists – 4 points even
Jarred Tinordi – London 4 GP – 0 goals 0 assists plus-3