Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday he’s not happy with the Montreal Canadiens’ draft selection of a player convicted of a sex-related offence.
“As a lifelong Habs fan, I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the decision. I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization,” Trudeau told reporters in Moncton. “I think they have a lot of explaining to do, to Montrealers and to fans from right across the country.”
The Canadiens chose Logan Mailloux in the first round of the NHL draft on July 23. He was fined by Swedish authorities in December after admitting to two charges related to sharing, without her consent, a photo of a woman performing a sexual act.
Some Montreal Canadiens sponsors have said they’re reviewing their relationship with the team after the selection of Mailloux.
Desjardins Group, a major Canadiens sponsor, contacted the team on Monday to “obtain an explanation and to share our discomfort with this decision,” Valérie Lamarre, a spokeswoman for the credit union federation, wrote in an e-mail.
Pharmacy chain Jean Coutu Group also said it is “reviewing the situation.”
The 18-year-old defenceman, who had asked teams not to draft him, told reporters on Saturday that sharing the photo was “stupid” and “irresponsible.”
The selection of Mailloux has also been criticized by Isabelle Charest, Quebec’s minister responsible for the status of women, as well as by groups that advocate for women who are victims of sexual violence.
Charest, who is also the province’s deputy education minister responsible for sports, wrote Saturday that she was “surprised and disappointed by the Montreal Canadiens decision to draft Logan Mailloux despite his conviction for unacceptable acts.”
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters Saturday that the gap between Mailloux and the next best player the Habs could have picked was too large to ignore, and he says he would have been drafted by another team if the Canadiens hadn’t picked him.
The Habs made other news on Tuesday by locking up Joel Armia, signing the Finnish forward to a four-year extension. The Habs say the deal has an average annual value of US$3.4 million.
Vegas trades Fleury to Chicago as goalie carousel spins
Marc-André Fleury was traded from Vegas to Chicago on Tuesday, a stunning turn of events that has the NHL’s reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender contemplating his future.
The Golden Knights traded Fleury to the Blackhawks for minor league forward Mikael Hakkarainen in a salary dump. Fleury is set to count US$7-million against the cap next season, the final year of his contract.
And that’s if he reports at all. Agent Allan Walsh tweeted, “Marc-Andre will be taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time.”
Fleury, 36, did not have Chicago on his 10-team no-trade list, but he did not want to play for any team other than Vegas. Chicago is certainly hoping to add him as the organization shifts from a rebuild into win-now mode.
It’s the first time in 20 years the reigning Vezina winner was traded before the next season. Buffalo traded Dominik Hasek to Detroit on the first day of free agency in 2001.
The Fleury trade was one of several moves around the league, including the Washington Capitals getting captain Alex Ovechkin under contract for five more years, the St. Louis Blues agreeing to terms with winger Pavel Buchnevich and three players going on buyout waivers.
Ovechkin signed for US$47.5-million, giving him five seasons to chase down Wayne Gretzky’s career goals record. There was no real doubt about Ovechkin returning – just the question of how much and for how long. Ovechkin, who turns 36 in October, ranks fifth on the career goals list, 164 back of Gretzky’s record of 894 that was long considered unbreakable.
The Blues were confident they’d be able to get a deal done with Buchnevich after acquiring him from the New York Rangers last week for forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick. It’s a US$23.4-million, four-year deal that carries an annual cap hit of US$5.8-million.
Vancouver put Braden Holtby and San Jose put Martin Jones on unconditional waivers for the purposes of buying out the remainder of the goalies’ contracts. Holtby struggled last season with the Canucks but is only three years removed from winning the Cup with Washington. The Canucks also locked up one of their latest acquisitions, signing forward Conor Garland to a five-year contract. The club says the deal comes with an average annual value of US$4.95 million.
Jones backstopped the Sharks to the 2017 Stanley Cup final but has had a sub-.900 save percentage each of the past three seasons and was signed for three more at a cap hit of US$5.75-million.
“We knew change was needed,” GM Doug Wilson said. “This was not a decision we made lightly. It’s never enjoyable to part with someone that, to me, has been such a big part of our franchise for the past six years.”
In other goalie news, a person with direct knowledge of talks between the Buffalo Sabres and Linus Ullmark said negotiations are continuing with the hopes of reaching a deal by Wednesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.
Veteran defenceman Keith Yandle is signing a US$900,000, one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that includes a no-trade clause, according to a person with knowledge of the move who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be signed until noon eastern time Wednesday.
The Colorado Avalanche gave up a 2023 fourth-round draft pick to acquire Kurtis MacDermid in a trade with Seattle a week after the Kraken selected the 27-year-old defenceman from Los Angeles in the expansion draft.