Of the 25 players on Randy Cunneyworth’s roster, 16 are entering their second full season in Hamilton this year. Of that group, 11 also saw time with the Bulldogs in 2008-09. The team even has a few grizzled veterans left from the 2007-08 squad, including J.T. Wyman, Ryan Russell, David Desharnais and Mathieu Carle.
Among the returning faces in Steel Town this year, blue line pillar Yannick Weber is putting the lessons he learned in his first two pro seasons to good use, racking up seven points in just three games so far this year. The 22-year-old is currently the highest-scoring defenseman in the AHL and the Bulldogs’ leading scorer.
A dressing room with so much history could be an intimidating place for a rookie to make his debut, but the newest Bulldogs haven’t had any problems fitting in to their new environment thus far. Kyle Klubertanz, Gabriel Dumont, Brendon Nash, Andreas Engqvist and Alexander Avtsin have all already registered their first points with the club. Avtsin was also the first star of the game on October 19 thanks to a two-point performance in a 5-2 win.
New Bulldogs netminder Robert Mayer has also made his mark early on. The 21-year-old was thrown into the fire from the start with usual starter Curtis Sandford sidelined with a throat injury for the first three games. In that span, Mayer has posted a 2.66 goals-against average and a 2-1-0 record.
Counting on experience to lead a crop of talented youth could prove to be a winning formula down the road for the Bulldogs in 2010-11.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis
The notebook - Oct. 20, 2010
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