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The Canadiens need to sign prospect Martin Reway

The insanely talented, enigmatic, young Slovak could be a loss to the Canadiens if they don't act quickly.

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

According to the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, the Montreal Canadiens are edging close to a deadline that few are talking about, specifically with 2013 draft pick Martin Reway.

Though Reway is currently playing in Europe, he was drafted out of the QMJHL, which means that according to section 8.6. (b) (ii) the Canadiens must sign Reway, or extend to him what is called a 'Bona Fide Offer' before the second June 1st after he was drafted, meaning June 1st, 2015, at 5:00pm EST.

A 'Bona Fide Offer' according to the NHL, is an offer for an entry level deal that meets all the league's criteria, and once made, stays on the table for 30 days. If the Canadiens don't make Reway an offer by this time, he will cease affiliation with the club, and re-enter the draft in 2015.

Technically there's no way of knowing whether or not the Canadiens have made an offer to Reway, but logically if they had, he would be extremely likely to sign it.

UPDATE: I spoke with Martin Reway's agent, Michal Sivek, and he says that the Canadiens have not made an offer to Martin Reway.

UPDATE 2: According to a source in Slovakia, the Canadiens' representation there are sure that Reway did in fact receive a Bona Fide Offer, and he will remain property of the Canadiens until June 1st, 2017. There seems to have been some miscommunication between Reway's representation and the Canadiens, but the Habs' capologist John Sedgwick has proven time and again to be very in tuned with the CBA, and he's unlikely to make this kind of mistake. If the Canadiens are in fact wrong and lose Reway's rights, it would be a huge shock.

Why this matters

Fans of the Canadiens don't talk about Reway that often, but the pint-sized fourth round pick from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft may be the most purely talented player the Canadiens have drafted since P.K. Subban, save for Alex Galchenyuk of course.

At 5'10", which might be exaggerated, Reway isn't exactly imposing, and he doesn't jam the front of the net like Brendan Gallagher, but what he does do, is find holes. Slick with the puck, Reway is more patient than is common in hockey, willing to make the dangerous play because he knows he can pull it off. He controls the offense of every team he plays on, preferring to quarterback from the perimeter, and find his teammates for goals, or pick corners when no one expects him to shoot.

Away from the puck, Reway looks like a slacker, you don't really notice him. That is, until he strips the puck off an opponent and starts the attack the other way. Reway has mastered the art of getting lost on the ice. Fans and opponents alike seem to not notice him, until the puck is on his stick.

Reway isn't going to dive in front of a shot at the point, or run someone over in front of his own net, but his method of defense is alarmingly effective, just ask the Slovakian junior team he led to their first medal since 1999 this past January.

Reway's play along the perimeter and lack of traditional defensive prowess has seen him take a lot of criticism, as has his off-ice action, where he has been late to practices, and used to smoke and drink a lot, but has since stopped. All this has labelled Reway as a bit of an enigmatic problem child. Yet, of the Canadiens' recent draft picks, only Alex Galchenyuk outproduced Reway in their draft+1 years.

Player Games Goals Assists Points Goals/Game Points/Game
Alex Galchenyuk 33 27 34 61 0.82 1.85
Martin Reway 43 20 42 62 0.47 1.44
Brendan Gallagher 66 44 47 91 0.67 1.38
Tim Bozon 69 36 55 91 0.52 1.32
Charles Hudon 56 30 41 71 0.54 1.27
Nikita Scherbak 65 27 55 82 0.42 1.26
Sven Andrighetto 62 36 38 74 0.58 1.19
Jeremy Gregoire 65 35 34 69 0.54 1.06
Michael McCarron 66 14 20 34 0.21 0.52

Reway followed up his draft+1 year with the best season by a 19-year-old in the Czech league since Jiri Hudler, way back in 2002.

Add to this that the Canadiens play a perimeter-style of hockey under Michel Therrien anyway, and Reway may be exactly what they need. A player who can pick holes in opponents with patience and poise, and a monster on the powerplay.

Montreal has just over six more days to act.