July 18, 2024

Canadiens’ $60 Million Man Relieved His Family “Won’t Have to Work Anymore”

The Montreal Canadiens and forward Juraj Slafkovský have finalized an eight-year, $60.8 million contract, announced by general manager Kent Hughes on Monday, July 1.

In an interview with Slovakian media outlet Markiza TV, shared by X user @HabsOnReddit on July 2, Slafkovský expressed relief that his parents would no longer need to work due to his new contract.

“It’s great for my whole family and the people who helped me to make this happen. I’m glad that our people don’t have to do anything anymore,” Slafkovský told the outlet, as translated via Google. For the upcoming season, Slafkovský will earn $950,000 per season. Once his new contract kicks in, however, his annual salary will rise to $7.6 million through the 2032-33 season. This delay is due to the completion of his entry-level contract, which will end after the 2024-25 campaign.

Slafkovský’s Contract & Impact Within Canadiens

Slafkovský, still only 20 years old, is set to stay with the Canadiens for nearly a decade following the announcement of his eight-year contract extension.

The $60.8 million deal is the second most lucrative in NHL history for a Slovak player, only behind Marian Hossa’s 12-year, $64 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks in July 2009. However, Slafkovský’s average annual value of $7.6 million is the highest for a Slovak player in NHL history, surpassing Hossa’s AAV ($5.28 million) by over $2.3 million per year. Slafkovský recently scored 20 goals and 30 assists for 50 total points in 82 games during the 2023-24 season. Despite a minus-19 rating, attributed more to the team’s overall performance, Slafkovský is seen as a key member of the franchise’s future. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Canadiens in the 2022 NHL Draft, he leads his draft class in games played (121), goals (24), assists (36), and points (60).

Juraj Slafkovsky #20 of the Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens’ Offseason Focus on Organic Development

Instead of pursuing high-priced veteran free agents, the Canadiens opted for a youth-focused approach this offseason.

Montreal secured Slafkovský for the next eight years (nine including the final season of his entry-level contract), aligning his future with fellow prospects Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Both former GM Marc Bergevin and current GM Hughes have signed Slafkovský ($7.6 million), Suzuki ($7.875 million), and Caufield ($7.85 million) to similarly valued deals, creating a balanced salary structure and flexible cap management within the organization. Hughes explained their youth-focused strategy over pursuing veterans on July 1.

“We didn’t go into today thinking we had to accomplish things; we wanted to,” Hughes said, via NHL.com. “Sometimes what happens in free agency, if you go in overly committed to coming out with something, you end up with something you wish you didn’t. We wanted to enter the day with discipline.” According to Arpon Basu of The Athletic, the Habs attempted to sign free-agent forward Jonathan Marchessault, but he chose the Nashville Predators instead, considering them a better fit.

“The unsuccessful task was trying to sign free-agent forward Jonathan Marchessault,” Basu wrote on July 1. “Marchessault said the Canadiens were in the running right until the end, but ultimately, he felt the fit was better with the Nashville Predators, becoming a piece of their big splash to try to compete in the extremely top-heavy Central Division.” Marchessault signed a five-year, $5.5 million AAV contract with the Predators worth $27.5 million and joined Steven Stamkos in Nashville.

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