The AHL Playoffs: A Great Place To Start Your Pro Hockey Career

Mike MacDonaldCorrespondent IMay 7, 2010

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 27: Gabriel Dumont poses for a portrait after being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens during the second day of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 27, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The lad in the photo is Gabriel Dumont.

Gabriel was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2009 Entry Draft from the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL.

After four seasons in Drummondville, Dumont signed with the Canadiens on an entry level contract on Friday April 30th, 2009.

While the Montreal Canadiens were upsetting the NHL's regular season champions the Washington Capitals, the Habs' American Hockey League affiliate was in their AHL playoff series playing the Manitoba Moose.

Manitoba is the primary affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. The "Baby Habs" beat the Moose four games to two and moved on to play the Abbotsford Heat, the top affiliate of the Calgary Flames.

Everything happened fast for Gabriel, as the Habs had to think quick as they were going through an injury spell.

When both your primary affiliate and your parent club are still in the playoffs it's hard to promote and demote players. The AHL has a clear day roster date in which players with NHL experience need to be on AHL rosters for postseason play.

Throw on top of that the fact that your parent club, in this case, the Canadiens can only make four playoff transactions. That's tough.

With three transactions gone, Montreal needs help on the blue line and recalled P.K. Subban from Hamilton. I would argue that Subban's AHL days are over now and will likely finish this season and start next season in Montreal.

With the Baby Habs in a playoff hunt of their own, the Montreal brass signed the young Dumont to replace Subban on the roster.  In his first game, he was able to help the Bulldogs beat the Heat 3-2 while scoring his first professional goal in the process.

This process in nothing new to NHL teams. They have forever used the AHL Playoffs as a great starting place for their young graduating talent.

This is the beginning of Gabriel Dumont's pro career. This is the beginning of the development stage after being drafted and finishing junior hockey.

These games, however long they are, will allow young talent like Gabriel to make a sense of where his game stands heading into the offseason work out plans and training camp.

For these young players who are playing their first pro games during the AHL playoffs, remember that a long list of great players started off the same way.This experience will no doubt last with Gabriel Dumont the rest of his life.