The Montreal Canadiens have inked controversial 2021 first-round pick Logan Mailloux to a three-year entry level contract, the team announced Wednesday.
The 19-year-old blueliner, who played in just 12 games with the OHL's London Knights last season, was charged and fined under Swedish law for taking a photo of himself and a young woman without her consent during an "intimate moment" and then sharing that photo with his teammates "to impress them."
Mailloux, who was 17 at the time, took an offensive photograph of the 18-year-old victim, who was not aware she was being photographed. The photo, along with the victim’s online profile, was then shared with Mailloux’s SK Lejon teammates. Mailloux was charged with defamation and "offensive photography," and was required to pay 14,300 Swedish krona — approximately $2,077 Canadian dollars.
"This is a decision that we have thought through carefully. 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," Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said in a press release Wednesday after inking Mailloux to his entry-level deal.
"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," Hughes added.
Just days ahead of the NHL draft in July 2021, Mailloux, who was ranked 23rd on Central Scouting’s North American skaters list at the time, released a statement asking teams not to select him that year.
“Being drafted into the NHL is an honour and a privilege that no one takes lightly,” Mailloux said in his statement via Twitter. “The NHL Draft should be one of the most exciting landmark moments in a player’s career, and given the circumstances, I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft," he wrote.
Despite that request — and several teams reportedly placing Mailloux on their "Do Not Draft" lists — the Canadiens and former GM Marc Bergevin still used a late first-round pick on the embattled blueliner, selecting him 31st overall.
The Canadiens released the following statement after making the controversial pick:
“By drafting prospect Logan Mailloux with the 31st overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens organization not only selected a promising hockey player, but also a young man who recently admitted to making a serious mistake.
“The Canadiens are aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan's actions. Logan understands the impact of his actions. His recent public statement is a genuine acknowledgement of his poor behaviour and the first step on his personal journey.
“We are making a commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature and the necessary support to guide him in his development. We are also committed to raising awareness among our players about the repercussions of their actions on the lives of others.”
The hockey world at large roasted the Canadiens for making the pick, as did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he was "deeply disappointed" by the "lack of judgement" showed by the Canadiens organization.
Mailloux was also suspended from the OHL for four months over the incident for "violating the league's expectation for appropriate conduct by a player." He was reinstated last January and finished the 2021-22 junior season with London.
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