HabsWorld.net -- 

While it took a little longer than expected, the Habs announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed winger Luke Tuch to a two-year, entry-level contract.  The deal will begin next season and financial terms were not disclosed.

The Canadiens drafted the 22-year-old winger in the second round in 2020, picking him 47th overall out of the US National Team Development Program.  He wasn’t a big point producer with that team but with his size and physicality, he fit the profile of a bottom-six power forward which certainly appealed to Montreal’s management.

Tuch has spent the last four seasons at Boston University.  However, injuries and a COVID-shortened freshman campaign limited him to just 42 games over his first two years, the equivalent of about one full season.  He had just 21 points in those appearances, leading to some questions about whether he’d get signed by the Habs.

However, Tuch was able to stay healthy last season, getting into 40 games where he notched nine goals and 11 helpers.  This year, he built on that output, collecting 10 goals and 20 assists in 39 contests but the Terriers were eliminated in the Frozen Four semi-finals.

It’s somewhat interesting that Tuch accepted a deal beginning next season as he could have simply elected to test unrestricted free agency in mid-August; the one carrot the Habs could have potentially offered was a contract beginning this season, allowing him to reach restricted free agency a year earlier.  However, they were able to convince him to wait to begin that deal until next season.

Notably, Tuch signed a one-way contract with Laval for the rest of the season, making him eligible to play in their final two regular season games and the playoffs if they qualify.  Typically, players sign a tryout agreement coming out of college and major junior so it stands to reason that with Tuch getting a full contract, he’ll be paid considerably more than someone like Florian Xhekaj, for example.  Perhaps that was enough financially to tip the scales for him to sign and not test free agency.

The 2020 draft class has yielded a few prospect signings now as Tuch is the fifth to sign with Montreal.  He joins Kaiden Guhle, Sean Farrell, and Jakub Dobes as those still with the organization while Jan Mysak, who had signed, was traded to Anaheim just before the trade deadline for Jacob Perreault, a late first-round pick from 2020.  Coincidentally, with Perreault now out for the season, Tuch may very well wind up taking his place in the lineup for the Rocket.