Trotter, White turning Habs' heads

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:05 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- Slowly but surely, Brock Trotter has become the player the Montreal Canadiens expected when they signed him as a free agent in February of 2007.

Trotter left Denver University around the midway point of his junior season to join the Hamilton Bulldogs and the initial foray into the professional ranks featured more than a few potholes.

But over the past three calendar years, Trotter got stronger, regained his confidence and found his scoring touch.

These days, he's the leading scorer on a Bulldogs squad that is the cream of the crop in the Western Conference.

"It started in the second half of last year, I got a little bit grittier and battled more," said Trotter, who had 31 goals and 67 points going into Tuesday's game against the Manitoba Moose. "It's tough to do, but it's something I have to do as a small forward (5-foot-10, 180 pounds). I have to win those battles.

"Maybe in the back of my mind, I wasn't sure when it was going to happen. It's good mentally knowing I can do it now."

Fellow Brandon product Ryan White is also enjoying a breakout season.

The Canadiens third round (66th overall) pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has transformed from a pure sniper with the Calgary Hitmen to a hard-working forward who takes the body and can also chip in offensively.

"Everything is coming along pretty good," said White, who had 16 goals, 28 points and 133 penalty minutes going into Tuesday's game. "I've kind of put the offensive side of the game on the back-burner and looked at the other sides of the game and tried to excel on the defensive side of the puck.

"For me, it's about playing both ways and contributing when I can."

White has also suited up in 16 games with the Habs this season, picking up two assists -- including a helper in his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 5.

"It was the time of my life, for sure," said White. "It was a good one. I didn't have too much time to think about it and that was the best thing about it. It was nice getting an assist in a win.

"I had a few bumps in my first shift and I had (Bruins' enforcer) Shawn Thornton following me after that. I guess that was my welcome to the league."

Trotter, meanwhile, has appeared in two NHL games and was held off the score sheet, making his debut on Feb. 7 against the Bruins, playing on a unit together with White and fellow Bulldog call-up David Deharnais.

"It was awesome," said Trotter. "I've never skated so fast in my entire life. It was a really good experience, hopefully I can get up there again soon.

"Every time we got on the ice, we were huffing and puffing and keeping it simple but we seemed to be making plays like we do down here in the AHL. I hit a post and that's in the back of my mind too."


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