The Montreal Canadiens announced on Wednesday having come to terms with Juraj Slafkosky on an entry-level contract starting in the 2022-2023 season.
The Canadiens are looking to keep Slafkovsky in North America this year, be it in Montreal or with the Laval Rocket, and made sure to sign their 1st overall pick right away to give them full control over where he plays next season. The Montreal Canadiens had to make up their minds quickly, as they had up until July 15th to sign their European prospects prior to the transfer deadline.
The towering winger has already impressed quite a bit at the Montreal Canadiens development camp, and the Canadiens strongly believe his next move will be to play in North America. Despite most 1st overall picks usually starting right away in the NHL as soon as they’re drafted, it appears the Montreal Canadiens want to take a more patient approach. That doesn’t mean that Slafkovsky won’t be given every opportunity to play with the Montreal next season, but they do have the luxury of being able to send him to the AHL for stints.
Despite having another year on his contract with TPS in the Finnish Liiga, Slafkovsky is eligible to play in the AHL right away, due to being a 1st round pick drafted out of Europe. The transfer agreement between the NHL and Liiga allows for 1st round picks drafted out of the top Finnish league to be able to jump to the pro level in North America despite being under contract. The rule offers the Montreal Canadiens a unique opportunity to sign Slafkovsky to his entry-level contract and then assign him to either Montreal or Laval without being penalized.
Having already won over the hearts of Canadiens fans since being drafted, Juraj Slafkovsky seems to only just be getting started.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) July 13, 2022