The Habs have locked up another one of their 2017 draft picks by signing defenceman Cale Fleury to a three-year, entry-level contract. Despite their stated commitment to providing contract information, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Fleury was Montreal’s third-round pick (87th overall) in that draft class. He slid down the board due to the fact he played for a very bad team in Kootenay that year and his -61 rating that season wasn’t pretty, to say the least.
Things went better for the 19-year-old last season, however. He started off well with the Ice before being dealt to Regina, who was hosting the Memorial Cup. He suited up in 51 regular season games with the Pats, collecting 41 points while adding four helpers in seven postseason contests and one assist in five games in the Memorial Cup.
While Fleury was eligible to return for another year of junior, the Canadiens feel that he’s best served starting his professional career now. As a late-1998 player, he’s eligible to turn pro now even though he will still be 19 for another month and a half.
Although he is 19, Fleury’s contract should not qualify to slide a year. Section 9.1(d)(1) of the CBA reads as follows (emphasis is mine):
In the event that an 18 year old or 19 year old Player signs an SPC with a Club but does not play at least ten (10) NHL Games in the first season under that SPC, the term of his SPC and his number of years in the Entry Level System shall be extended for a period of one (1) year, except that this automatic extension will not apply to a Player who is 19 according to Section 9.2 by virtue of turning 20 between September 16 and December 31 in the year in which he first signs an SPC.
(Section 9.2 mentions that September 15th is the date used to determine players’ age for the purposes of signing a contract.)
As Fleury turns 20 between September 16 and December 31 in the year he signed and is 19 under the Section 9.2 definition for determining his age, he falls into the category where the automatic extension does not apply. This differs from Nikita Scherbak (a December 30 birthdate) as Scherbak signed at 18, not 19. Same with Brett Lernout (September 24) as he signed at 18, not 19 which allowed for the slide.