May 3, 2019 8:31 pm

London Knights sign Jonathan Gruden, Bryce Montgomery for 2019-20 season

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Just three days after they announced the signing of their 2019 first round draft pick, the London Knights unveiled two more big additions for 2019-2020.

Those additions are Ottawa Senators prospect Jonathan Gruden and defenceman Bryce Montgomery.

Gruden was drafted by the Knights in the fifth round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, but elected to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program and then move on to the University of Miami at Ohio this past year.

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As a freshman, Gruden put up three goals and 15 points in 38 games. Those numbers led all rookies on his team.

Gruden was selected in the fourth round of the NHL Entry draft by the Senators and signed an entry-level contract with Ottawa in early April, guaranteeing that he was not headed back to the NCAA for his sophomore season.

In signing a standard player agreement with London, Gruden will now have three options for next season. He can play with the Senators in the National Hockey League, he can be placed with Belleville Senators in the American Hockey League or he could be assigned to the Knights.

“Jonathan is a very talented forward who will immediately step into our lineup and significantly contribute,” said London Knights General Manager Mark Hunter.

Gruden’s father John Sr. played in the NHL with Boston, Ottawa and Washington and coached the Hamilton Bulldogs to an Ontario Hockey League championship in 2018. He is currently an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.

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The Knights hope Montgomery can follow in the footsteps of past defencemen like Brandon Crawley and Chris Martenet, who attended their development camp, chose to play in the OHL and became important players on London’s blue line. Both Crawley and Martenet were members of the Knights 2016 Memorial Cup championship team.

Montgomery is 16 years old and will turn 17 in November. He will not be eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2021.

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The Bowe, Maryland native owns good size at six-foot-three and 191 pounds. He played last year at Cushing Academy and was once a member of the same Washington Little Caps program that London assistant coach Dylan Hunter played for while Dale Hunter was still a member of the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

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“Bryce is a big-bodied, skilled defenceman who we look forward to bringing in to London,” Hunter said. “Bryce will have a chance to step into our lineup and bring some tremendous strengths.  He has superb skating abilities and a keen hockey sense, which complements his skill-based game.

“We are very pleased to have been able to have seen Bryce perform at our mini-development camp and are excited to add him to our organization.”

Montgomery and Gruden will join Stuart Rolofs, London’s first round pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection at training camp in late August. Rolofs signed with the Knights on April 30.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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