The Habs made a rather shocking selection with their first-round pick on Friday night, picking London Knights defenceman Logan Mailloux 31st overall.
Mailloux had asked to not be selected in the draft earlier in the week after it was publicly revealed that he had been charged in Sweden while playing on loan for taking and distributing a sexual photo without consent; Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has the full details on that situation. Mailloux’s request to not be selected was as follows:
“Being drafted into the NHL is an honor and a privilege that no one takes lightly. The NHL draft should be one of the most exciting landmark moments in a player’s career, and given the circumstances, I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft. I know it will take time for society to build back the trust I have lost, and that is why I think it is best that I renounce myself from the 2021 NHL draft and ask that no one select me this upcoming weekend.”
At least 11 teams had reportedly dropped Mailloux from their boards entirely by this point. It’s also worth noting that players cannot withdraw their names from the draft as they can in other leagues.
The Canadiens released the following statement following Mailloux’s selection:
“By drafting prospect Logan Mailloux with the 31st overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens organization not only selected a promising hockey player, but also a young man who recently admitted to making a serious mistake. The Canadiens are aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan’s actions. Logan understands the impact of his actions. His recent public statement is a genuine acknowledgement of his poor behaviour and the first step on his personal journey.
We are making a commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature and the necessary support to guide him in his development. We are also committed to raising awareness among our players about the repercussions of their actions on the lives of others.”
GM Marc Bergevin acknowledged following the first round that his scouts felt Mailloux would have been picked by other teams had they tried to wait a little longer to select him and felt that he was a first-round talent. Let’s dig into that with some scouting reports.
DOB: April 15, 2003
Weight: 214 lbs
CSB: 23 (North American skaters)
Hockey Prospect: 30
Future Considerations: 59
TSN (Button): 50
TSN (McKenzie): 35
Hockey Prospect: Like his season, Mailloux is also unique. On the one hand, he’s a monstrous, physical force prone to inadvertently throwing himself out of plays due to his aggression. On the other, he’s a technically skilled offensive defenseman with one of the best shots featured in this entire class. A good descriptor for his game would be that of a glass cannon. He can explode dangerous shots off his stick, but also break like glass under pressure off of the puck. The floor might be made out of fractured glass, but the ceiling is exceptionally high and there are very few prospects in any draft that present the package that he brings to the table.
McKeens: Physically, there is a lot to like. Mailloux’s four-way mobility is strong and it allows him to play aggressively at both ends. He defends well and shows the potential to be a physical beast, with a penchant for the big hit in open ice. He has a big point shot and is definitely a defender you can expect to score his share of goals with his ability to get pucks through or one-time shots from the point.
Recrutes: Mailloux is thought by most scouts to have top-15 skill, so the only reason he may drop to the 30’s is concerns about his off-ice antics. Teams will be doing their homework on Mailloux, and if it’s decided that it’s all just a matter of doing some maturing, then someone will step up to take him in the first round. He’s a great skater for his size, and offers both impressive offensive and defensive play on the point.
Future Considerations: Mailloux is a rangy and surprisingly agile skater, showing strong lateral movement and decent agility to stop and change directions under pressure. He accelerates well and shows an aggressive nature jumping into the rush, often beating the first forechecker with his feet or a long outlet pass. He isn’t afraid to pinch low into the offensive zone to keep the play alive either, showing confidence handling the puck on the cycle and through traffic. He has a surprising amount of fluidity in his skating, using long, fluid strides and crossovers to generate speed while carrying the puck and displaying strong edgework that he uses to curl away from checkers to evade pressure, though his top speed is just above average.
LWOS: Mailloux seems to have plenty of tools. However, due to circumstances beyond his control he has not yet played against a high level of competition. This leaves plenty of questions about how his skills will translate at the OHL level and higher. He is a real boom or bust prospect as his ceiling is a top-four defender who contributes offensively and on the power play. However there is a chance that he struggles, especially defensively against better competition.
OHL Prospects: 6’3, 215lbs right shot defenders with mobility don’t grow on trees. Mailloux also has a unique two-way skill set. He has a cannon of a point shot and looks comfortable running the point of the powerplay, understanding of how to move his feet to create shooting lanes. Mailloux has a wide variety of rankings across different scouting platforms for a variety of different reasons, thus seeing where he lands on draft day will be very interesting. The projection is certainly alluring.
Draft Buzz: Giant offensive defenseman with a high IQ. He plays the game with poise and confidence. Logs big minutes against top competition. Hard to find his offensive skill set and defensive IQ in a tall athletic built defender. Projects as a top four offensive defender that eats big minutes.
Sticking strictly with on-ice elements, Mailloux’s season was a tough one from a development perspective with the OHL not playing which is why he was in Sweden and not London in the first place. At a minimum, he’ll need the two post-draft years with the Knights and given how raw his game is, he probably will need time in the minors as well. There is definitely some intriguing upside but with the off-ice situation, it’s certainly an extremely controversial and polarizing one.