MONTREAL – If he didn’t look so young, it would be easy to question whether Cale Fleury was only 20 years old and just in his first year in the pro ranks.
Fleury is in his first go-round with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket, but that hasn’t stopped the Canadiens’ third-round pick (87th overall) in 2017 from demonstrating an unmatched calm and collectedness on the ice.
“It’s something that, as you get older, you can use as an asset,” explained Fleury’s bench boss with the Rocket, Joël Bouchard. “It can sometimes work against you when you’re young, but in developing and managing it well, it becomes an asset.”
In his most recent press conference, general manager Marc Bergevin made a point of speaking about the young defender.
“He’s been a nice surprise for us. He’s still a young player. I can’t say that he’s not on our radar for a call-up, but he’s a player we see possibly playing in Montreal one day,” declared Bergevin. “I think that so far, he’s shown a lot of positives for eventually getting a chance with the Canadiens.”
For more proof of his unflappable calm, look no further than Fleury’s response to the Habs GM’s comments.
“I’m learning about it from you,” he said with a laugh. “I think that means that I’m headed in the right direction. I have to have confidence in myself and in the guys who are here. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.”
When Bouchard first sat down with Fleury, he didn’t shy away from the truth and gave him a warning.
“At the start I told him, ‘You’re in trouble. You’re going to play in the NHL and you don’t have a choice,'” he said. “I’m not giving him any chances. He’s a good young player. I like him, but he’s better off listening to me and he knows it.”
The Rocket head coach believes that Fleury is indeed headed in the right direction and that he’s very open to learning.
“His development has been good, always good potential. Throughout his Junior career, he was always on teams that were struggling. You also can’t forget that he was young for his age group. He was always in between,” explained Bouchard. “He came here with a good attitude and he’s learning. He’s absorbing everything we’re telling him.”
For the defenseman, who agreed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens on October 4, it’s all about keeping things steady.
“I just want to be consistent. That’s what all coaches and organizations want from their players,” outlined Fleury. “That’s how they know what they can expect out of you every night.”
As for the possibility of getting the call from the big club, the Carlyle, SK native doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself.
“For sure it would be good, but it’s not really in my head,” concluded Fleury. “I just want to focus on my work here.”