When the Montreal Canadiens called Logan Mailloux’s name as the 31st pick in the 2021 draft, they took a significant risk. They accepted a media firestorm — which may or may not have been a contributing factor in the eventual dismissal of both Trevor Timmins and Marc Bergevin — to fill a need on their back end.
Fast forward to the 2022 off-season, and the question remains as to whether or not it was all worth it. He did receive a bona fide offer from the Canadiens, but is without an entry-level contract heading into the 2022-23 season. Notwithstanding the off-ice issues that led to a criminal fine while he was playing in Sweden, one reason that the organization has been hesitant to offer that contract is that he simply hasn’t played much hockey the last two years.
The Ontario Hockey League handed him a suspension that held him out of action until January, 2022. He got back to playing form quickly, putting up seven points in his first six games. He missed several games due to a freak accident in warm-ups, and not long after returning from that a nasty fall in a fight with Detroit Red Wings prospect Pasquale Zito injured his shoulder, and ended his season after just 12 games.
The pandemic, his suspension, and his injuries have limited his OHL sample to a total of 16 games since 2019. He did play 19 games in the Swedish third division during the pandemic-cancelled 2020-21 season, but it is tough to get a read on how that helped his development since he’s played even less since returning to London.
There is a lot of upside to his game, but fans, as well as the Canadiens organization, are all waiting to see him play more to really get a read on where exactly he is at in his development.
A consensus there is certainly not when it comes to Mailloux, with votes ranging from 31 all the way up to seven. A major factor for several panellists in placing Mailloux on the list was the lack of game action; there simply wasn’t a big enough sample for many to justify ranking him any higher than they did in such a deep prospect pool.
Personally, I had him just outside my top 10. Small though his sample may be, I saw things from him during said sample that lead me to believe he can be a real threat at the NHL level one day.
Top 25 Under 25 History
Mailloux drops five spots this year from his debut ranking of 15 in 2021. Again, the impact of him missing time and seeing the prospect pool deepen over the past year is felt, and he’ll get a chance to rebound next year.
History of #20
|2019||Jayden Struble / Joni Ikonen|
The first thing that jumps out when you watch Mailloux is his skating. He has a long, powerful stride and gets up to top speed very quickly.
Quite the rush from Logan Mailloux here on a power play. Didn't finish but he did draw a call to earn a short five-on-three for the Knights. pic.twitter.com/mrnPOgWB6a— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 9, 2022
At the Junior level, he is a clearly elite skater, and this leads to exciting solo rushes up ice, where he turns would-be checkers into Montreal traffic cones. When he gets the puck and starts going from anywhere in his own zone, you’ll tend to sit up a little in your seat.
His shot is also a major strength, as he can put major velocity on any type of release he chooses, and his wheelhouse for one-timers is also quite big thanks to his frame. He has excellent shooting mechanics, and it isn’t just a wild shot with speed. He is accurate and generates plenty of tip-in and rebound opportunities when he doesn’t put it in himself.
#gohabsgo Logan Mailloux finally solves Gaudreau with an absolute screamer. Luke Evangelista just puts it on a platter for him.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 16, 2022
Too little, too late for London as they lose 4-2. pic.twitter.com/VUEVLS0K3E
There was a game against the Flint Firebirds that still sticks in my mind from last season. Mailloux queued up essentially a half-wrister from the point, and took the goaltender’s mask clean off in the process.
Offensively, he has tools that most defencemen just don’t have. When you add in the physicality that he has at 6’3” and closing in on 220 pounds, you can see why Bergevin wanted to take the risk on him. There is a ton of potential that can be unlocked if he can focus on some other areas of his game.
His decision making and overall processing of the game need improvement before he can go to the next level. He has a tendency to chase and skate himself right out of position at times, and while this wasn’t detrimental to a strong London Knights squad, that will be exposed more often at the professional level.
Pretty good game so far for Logan Mailloux, but a near costly mistake in the first. Comes all the way across and chases himself out of position leading to a scoring chance for Kitchener. pic.twitter.com/5bfRfNrAVF— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 9, 2022
He did improve his overall defensive positioning during those 12 games with London, and he arguably just needs more reps in order to truly improve on that front. Plays like the above had stopped completely by the time he hit game 12, but whether this was an anomaly or not could only be determined through a larger sample.
He can also make some flat-out infuriating decisions with the puck at times, forgoing simple outlet passes for low-percentage stretch passes that end up at best charged as icing, and at worst as turnovers leading to scoring chances against.
It is a weird balance when watching him to see those incredible rushes up the ice followed by baffling decisions the very next shift. He clearly has physical gifts that others can only dream of, but working on the small details of the game will be crucial to him realizing his full potential.
His ceiling is that of a dynamic top-four NHL defenceman, capable of generating offence at a high rate. But with that ceiling comes a perilously low floor, as he would be a liability at the NHL level without improvement in his decision-making and hockey IQ.
The physical gifts give him a wider margin for error than most, and improvement could be seen through that small sample last year in London. The 2022-23 season will be a make-or-break year for him, as he’ll either torch the OHL and show that he’s heading for his ceiling, or he stagnates, doesn’t earn his ELC with the Habs, and has to look elsewhere for professional employment in hockey.
The good news for the Habs is that at least they would get a compensatory pick in the event they decide not to offer him that deal. The bad news is that it will leave fans wondering what could have been, as some players like Logan Stankoven — picked just a few selections later in the second round — appear to be more sure bets to make it big in the NHL.
If he comes out and shows improvement while maintaining his offensive upside, I don’t see a world where he doesn’t get the ELC. With a big season, he could even put himself on the radar to challenge for a roster spot in Montreal for the 2023-24 season.