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Canadiens Struble Watch: Contract Options For Habs



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens prospect Jayden Struble has a decision to make now that his season is done in the NCAA, and it could be coming sooner than you think.

The 21-year-old senior in the NCAA saw his final season in the NCAA come to a screeching halt after a shocking overtime loss to Providence this Saturday.

With Northeastern ranked around the 20th mark in NCAA pairwise rankings, it’s unlikely that the Huskies will be selected to participate in the NCAA Championships.

That means it’s now decision time for the Canadiens’ 2nd-round pick in 2019.

It’s a decision that will likely come in the next few days, and here are some of the options available to the Canadiens.

Sign Entry-Level Contract

The likeliest solution is to see the rugged defender sign his two-year entry-level (ELC) contract in the coming days and join the Canadiens for the remainder of the season.

Due to Struble turning 22 a few days prior to the September 15 cut-off date, his signing age would be listed as 22 years old, making him eligible for a two-year deal, rather than the usual three-year contract.

It’s common practice for NCAA players to jump into the NHL right out of college at this time of the season.

It’s enticing to such players, as signing a contract effective for the current season allows the player to burn the first year of their deal immediately, shortening the wait for their second, more lucrative contract.

Similar to former teammate Jordan Harris last season, Jayden Struble could sign his ELC in the coming days and join the Canadiens roster to play some games on the injury-ridden club.

With Montreal having exactly one month left to their season, it could be a great opportunity for the Canadiens staff to assess where Struble is against top competition, as they did with Harris a year prior, and slowly ease him into the pro level.

Unfortunately, Struble would be ineligible to play with the Laval Rocket this spring should general manager Kent Hughes choose this avenue, as Struble would have signed his contract after the NHL Trade Deadline.

Delay Entry-Level Contract, Sign Try-Out

The Montreal Canadiens utilized this tactic last season with Lucas Condotta, as he signed a Professional Try-Out (PTO) to join the Laval Rocket for the rest of their season and into the playoffs.

Upon signing his PTO, the Canadiens also simultaneously signed him to an ELC for the following season; ensuring Condotta was able to get some great experience in the spring, while securing an NHL contract.

If the Canadiens want Struble to be eligible to join the Laval Rocket, rather than the main roster, this would be the best compromise possible; as it could give Struble even more exposure to the pro game and get used to the setting he’s likely to be playing in next season.

With Struble’s ability to play both the left and right side on defence, he could be a big help to the Laval Rocket, who are currently riddled with injuries as well.

Refuse To Come To Terms

There is a possibility that Struble would decide that Montreal is not the right fit for him and chooses against signing with the Canadiens, in favour of becoming a free agent this summer.

The NHL‘s Collective Bargaining Agreement allows NCAA-based prospects that have completed their senior year in college to elect for free agency as of August 15 of the year they graduate.

This means that, with Struble’s collegiate career coming to an end, he could wait until August 16 to sign with a club of his choosing, rather than the team that drafted him.

That being said, it would be quite surprising, given that Kent Hughes was his former family advisor until he was named general manager.

“They drafted me and stuck by me all these years. I love the city and it’s a historic franchise. I haven’t given it too much thought, but it’s a really good option for me.” said Struble during a recent interview with Montreal Hockey Now.

Besides general manager Kent Hughes being his former family advisor, the term for an agent in the NCAA, Struble also has a strong friendship with former teammate Jordan Harris and Canadiens Development Director, Adam Nicholas.

The Struble watch is officially on.

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If they choose option 2 and sign him to a PTO and then ELC, would the ELC be for 2yrs or only 1? If he’s still eligible for a 2yr ELC and he doesn’t burn a year by signing the PTO and playing for Laval in the playoffs, then that’s the wiser option. Having control of a prospect for as long as possible is obviously the best for the team.


Great. Thank you.

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