Mac Bennett's account of his first day at the Development Camp. He caught up with former Michigan teammate Greg Pateryn, went through a really thorough medical checkup, and he raves about the facilities and the treatment he received.
Stuff like this is important when chasing after free agents. Sure, some fans think playing in Montréal is impossible because of the pressure, but some players can see the advantages.
Here is Mac's last blog entry, which has links at the bottom for his entry after every day. Nice information on how the camp is run, what the prospects are run through and what the organization does for them to help them along their development curve.
Mac Bennett is the perfect example of what patience and having a development program can do for a prospect. Drafted in the third round and 79th overall in 2009, he had less than optimal size for a defenceman hoping for a career in the NHL at 5'11" and 180 lbs, but also had good offensive skills, hockey sense and great mobility.
From there, his development plan appears to be paying off. He has played at a great hockey program at Michigan under coach Red Berenson, progressing from a rookie season when he was relatively sheltered and used on the powerplay, to a sophomore season when he was on the first pairing with fellow Canadiens-prospect Greg Pateryn, to last season when he had to assume more of the load with Mr. Pateryn graduated. Next season, he'll return for his senior year and serve as the team captain.
The mention in his first entry that Development Coach Patrice Brisebois had given him a goal of 195 lbs for his target weight for the development camp, and that he'd reached that target, is good news. The Canadiens' staff and their support of the prospects seems to be paying off, from the very little news that we get. Based on the SportsNet "Road to the Memorial Cup" documentary, where we observed Mr. Brisebois working with Darren Dietz and Dalton Thrower, and now this mention from Mac Bennett, the hire of the Canadiens Player Development coaches have good rapport and a positive influence on the recruits.
Also, Mac Bennett is taking the necessary steps and climbing the ladder, with a positive attitude. His eagerness to please his coaches and to improve is a good sign. His physical development, from a relatively slender defenceman to one who is physically mature and noticeably more powerful in the upper body shows that he's applying himself to this aspect of his progression, and that there are benefits to some to taking the NCAA as opposed to the junior route to the NHL.