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Canadiens: Adam Engstrom has changed

Canadiens: Adam Engstrom has changed

Adam Engstrom is dominating Montreal Canadiens development camp this summer, and his absence from the team’s rookie tournament is conspicuous; And you won’t see him in the big camp that will fly soon. However, it would be a big mistake to think that he is taking things easy in his native Sweden.

They say that even he has changed. He is now said to be blocking shots, which surprises his teammates and sparks slight ridicule.

Engstrom has been sweating it out in recent weeks. With Rogel’s team, he participated in an extremely difficult two-month training camp, including a full day of military exercises in the jungle.

Thomas Gregoire isn’t about to forget these hellish 24 hours. The 25-year-old Quebec defenseman, who is starting his first season in the SHL with Rögle, can laugh today. But he was afraid.

“At one point, we were in the pool for two hours. I thought about drowning, I’m not kidding. Guys, we were terrified,” he said over the phone. He later admitted he was exaggerating a bit, but it was still “scary.”

Gregoire has time to kill. It takes several hours on the bus. After a 3-2 win over Malmö in their opening match, Ruggel’s side headed to Örebro.

It is clear that in two months, he has had time to get to know Engstrom, a promising teammate who will play a very important role for Rögle this season.

“He’s lying next to me, if you want to talk to him!” Gregoire says simply.

The latter tries to pass the phone to his neighbor on the bus. without result. Engstrom seems busy. You will have to wait a little.

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“He’s a good guy, honestly,” Gregoire says of the Habs’ hope. He’s still young, so he arrives on the scene with a lot of energy. He has it Good Hazar. He works hard. He’s really on the ice the whole time.

Sometimes even… a little too much!

“During the training camp, before the games, he was jumping on the ice and he was the last one to jump. He was practically doing the drill himself. I told him, ‘You are going to be completely down. Game»»

The skills are undeniable in his case. European teams are known for giving playing time to their young players sparingly. But Rögle almost gave the keys to the blue line to Engstrom this season. With 21 minutes played against Malmö, he was the most used player in the team, as well as being deployed in the first wave of numerical advantage.

“He has a lot of talent,” says Gregoire. He’s very confident with the puck, that’s what impresses me most about him. He has good patience. He’ll hold the puck for a second longer than you thought he would, but that’s because he has the talent to get out of these situations and create plays for himself. He comes from the blue line and beats his attacker to take the ball. “He’s very quick and smart with the ball.”

Image source: Peter Ekholm, Rogel

New Engstrom

Engstrom has been given too important responsibilities this season to simply shine offensively.

The 6-foot defender with a slender silhouette was also used shorthanded, and would have enjoyed blocking shots.

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His colleagues certainly noticed.

“He’s starting to do that,” Gregoire points out. The guys laughed at first because before, maybe this wasn’t his role. There, he gives a little more. He blocks shots and I think he likes that In two directions.

“When you’re young and you tend to attack… you block the shot and your teammates have fun at your expense: ‘Okay, finally!’ It’s fair game. There, he blocks one goal per game, so I think he’s less bothered.

After the bus stopped at a rest stop, Engstrom answered his phone an hour later. The main subject laughs heartily when the blocked footage of him is mentioned.

He confirms: “Yes, I am now in front of shots, a good player.” I’m doing my best. “I must take my responsibilities seriously.”

We feel that Engstrom is increasingly aware of the importance of improving all aspects of his game before moving to North America.

“My goal this summer was to get a little heavier,” he explains. I gained a few pounds. “I feel a little stronger.”

At the end of the development camp, the Canadians insisted with him on the importance of playing a more physical match in his area to maintain a consistent level during the match.

This season will be crucial for Engstrom. If all goes well, the Canadiens could give him a three-year contract at the end of the year and bring him into their ranks in 2024-25.

Engstrom is not aiming for a points tally or a specific goal at Rögle other than to continue developing.

“I don’t think about it much,” he added. “I try to be myself on the ice, play my game. I want to create things offensively, but above all, I want to be proud of my work in my zone.

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This famous military camp…what is his opinion of it?

“It was a tough day (laughs).” But it allows us to build bonds between our teammates.

We think his teammates respect him more now that he’s throwing himself in front of pucks.