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What To Expect From Montreal Canadiens Prospect Luke Tuch

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Luke Tuch Montreal Canadiens prospects

Now that the Montreal Canadiens have taken care of business by signing their top prospect, Lane Hutson, general manager Kent Hughes can turn his attention to one of Hutson’s Boston University Terriers teammates, Luke Tuch.

Tuch was chosen 47th overall at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Injuries led to a rather underwhelming start to his NCAA career, as he only managed to produce 42 points in 82 games during his first three seasons with the Terriers.

The 22-year-old hit his stride this season, finishing his final campaign in the NCAA with 10 goals and 20 assists in 39 games. He also served as the team’s alternate captain, providing much-needed leadership to one of the top teams in the country.

His collegiate career came to an end on Thursday when the Denver Pioneers eliminated the Terriers, beating them 2-1 in their Frozen Four semifinal match-up. Tuch was the lone Boston University player to find the back of the net, scoring a very important shorthanded goal early in the first period.

Luke Tuch Contract Status

There were rumblings the Canadiens had discussed a potential entry-level contract last season, with Tuch ultimately deciding to return to the NCAA in a final attempt to capture the National Championship with Boston University.

With his time in college complete, it’s now simply a matter of logistics, as both parties are interested in signing a deal.

The ideal approach for the Canadiens would be to sign Tuch to a contract that only kicks in next season. This would ensure he would not burn a year off his entry-level contract this season, giving the Habs longer control over his rights.

Tuch’s camp is probably pushing for an agreement that is effective immediately, allowing their client to become a restricted free agent earlier than if the deal was delayed one season.

The former may seem like the perfect option for the team, but the latter could also become beneficial, as it mitigates the chances he will develop into a player who can command a significant raise once his entry-level contract runs out.

Canadiens fans can look to two recent signings as templates for the options in Tuch’s situation. Defenceman Jordan Harris signed an entry-level contract that was effective immediately, thus burning a year. Jayden Struble, on the other hand, signed an amateur tryout before signing his ELC, which kicked in the following year.

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What To Expect From Montreal Canadiens Prospect Luke Tuch

Tuch’s production increasing significantly this season is certainly encouraging, but it also points to a few chances in his usage.

His special teams ice time went up considerably, not to mention he played on the Terriers’ first line alongside top 2024 NHL Draft prospect Macklin Celebrini on more than a few occasions.

In other words, don’t expect Tuch to set the world on fire from an offensive standpoint.

He has limited offensive potential, which he overcomes by offering up an honest effort during every shift.

He will require a season or more in the AHL to adapt to the speed involved in professional hockey. It’s not that Tuch is a slow skater, per se, but he doesn’t necessarily execute plays with the speed necessary to thrive in the AHL or NHL.

At 6’2, 205 lbs, he has the right frame for pro hockey, which should help him etch out an important role with the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket.

As for his eventual NHL aspirations, it will all come down to how the Canadiens construct their roster. If they want a player in the bottom six who can provide some tertiary scoring, then Tuch may end up becoming a mainstay in the lineup.

For now, given his scoring pace in the NCAA, the best bet will be to re-evaluate his results once he has had a chance to adapt to his new surroundings in the American Hockey League.