Canadiens sign 2021 1st-round pick Logan Mailloux to entry-level contract
In 2020, OHL D-man was charged, fined for posting sexual photo without consent
The Montreal Canadiens have signed defenceman Logan Mailloux to a three-year, entry-level contract, the NHL club announced Wednesday.
The deal is worth $750,000 US in the first season and $832,500 in the next two campaigns.
The Canadiens were heavily criticized for drafting Mailloux with the 31st pick at the 2021 NHL draft.
He was fined by Swedish authorities after admitting to two charges related to sharing, without her consent, a photo of a woman performing a sexual act.
Mailloux, who was playing for the Swedish team SK Lejon at the time of the incident, has previously said he "deeply regrets" taking and then sharing that photo with his teammates "to impress them."
"This is a decision that we have thought through carefully," Montreal general manager Kent Hughes, who was not with the organization when Mailloux was drafted, said in a statement Wednesday. "Having Logan around members of our team and hockey operations staff for a good part of the summer allowed us to gain a greater appreciation of Logan Mailloux the person.
"He has an opportunity to affect positive change and we will work to support him in any effort towards that goal. Logan recognizes the impact of his gesture and of course, the process continues."
WATCH | Canadiens criticized for controversial draft pick:
Mailloux, who hails from Belle River, Ont., will earn $70,000 per season if he plays in the American Hockey League.
The 19-year-old Mailloux played 12 games with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League last season, recording three goals and nine points.
In September 2021, the OHL suspended Mailloux indefinitely for violating the league's expectation for appropriate conduct by a player.
Days before the 2021 NHL draft, Mailloux posted a statement on Twitter asking teams not to pick him but the Canadiens defied the request and selected the six-foot-three, 213-pound blue-liner with then-general manager Marc Bergevin defending the move to reporters shortly after the selection.
"We will work closely with him, give him the support that he needs," Bergevin said at the time. "I know he's been remorseful about the incident, which we truly don't agree with it in all sense of the word."
'Comprehensive plan' to raise awareness
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canadiens "showed a lack of judgment" drafting Mailloux.
In July 2021, Canadiens owner, president and CEO Geoff Molson promised action, saying the team would develop a "comprehensive plan to raise awareness and educate young men and young women about this serious issue" in the coming months.
"We will use our platform and our resources to turn a decision that hurt many people into one that brings meaningful and impactful change."
WATCH | Critics say Molson's apology not enough:
Several advocacy groups also expressed concern about the message the hockey club sent by drafting Mailloux. There have been a number of media columns criticizing the decision as well.
Robert Soroka, a marketing professor at Concordia University in Montreal, said in July 2021 the open letter by Molson is "a textbook example of how to react to a crisis. Clearly, the original concern was the erosion of the Canadiens brand."
Last month, Mailloux didn't participate in the team's rookie camp in Buffalo, N.Y., while he continued his recovery from shoulder surgery. He was limited to off-ice activities, according to The Gazette newspaper, at Montreal's development camp in July.
Mailloux hurt the shoulder on March 6 in a fight with Windsor Spitfires forward Pasquale Zito.
He didn't play in the Knights' season-opening loss to Owen Sound on Sept. 30.
Mailloux's return to the lineup will be decision of his surgeon, Knights GM Mark Hunter told the London Free Press in early September.
"If [the surgeon] says he's ready to go and Logan has all his strength back, then he'll play," Hunter said. "We've got lots of time to get going. It's a long season."