Montreal Canadiens forward Juraj Slafkovsky
Photo credit: CTV

WOW: 64-Million Dollar Contract for Juraj Slafkovsky to Be Announced Imminently?

Published February 20, 2024 at 9:39

Now that it has been over two months, we can confirm that Juraj Slafkovsky's progression has been phenomenal.

In the same season, he went from a player who got two assists in his first 15 games to a guy who totals 22 points in his last 24 encounters. This pace would give him an incredible production of 75 points over a full season, at only 19 years old.

He is also on an eight-game streak with at least one point, which is unprecedented for a player under 20 years old in the rich history of the Montreal Canadiens.

An Eight-Year Contract for Slafkovsky Already?

Now, two experts have publicly claimed a very long-term agreement with the organization's first overall pick in 2022.

After Antoine Roussel, the former NHL player, it's now Jean-Charles Lajoie's turn to demand a big contract with the tall Slovak.

"For me, the Canadiens have no choice but to sign him to an eight-year contract," he dropped on JiC. "What we've seen from him in the last two months shows that this is not a flash in the pan. He's a confident guy, who, despite being 19 years old in the Montreal market, is able to handle the pressure." [...]

"That's why, in my opinion, it's important to reward the success he's having right now. It will show everyone that hard work pays off." - via TVA Sports

A Well-Calculated Risk for the Canadiens

In light of his recent performances, which have now lasted two months, we're beginning to get more information on his progression. Two months of solid performances are increasingly dispelling doubts and suggest a certain consistency in his game.

Obviously, the potential "disadvantage" is that the Canadiens are taking a certain short-term risk, if the player's performance does not meet the expectations of the high salary.

However, by signing such a contract for so long, it's not the first years that matter. The goal is to make the most of the last 4-5 seasons of the deal, when the return on investment will be at its maximum, benefiting from a lower salary compared to high on-ice performances.

The Tricolore has the financial flexibility to "overpay" Slafkovsky's first seasons, if that's the case, to then benefit from very advantageous savings when the team needs to optimize the salary invested as much as possible to build a winning lineup.

A $64M Contract for Slafkovsky?

The Devils took this risk with Jack Hughes in 2021 with a monster extension of eight years with the young forward, worth $64 million, or $8 million per season.

He signed this deal at the beginning of his third year, where he had 31 points, including 11 goals, in 56 games (season shortened by the pandemic). The following year, he exploded offensively with 99 points, including 43 goals.

Hughes is now fully justifying every dollar invested by the Devils, and then some.

Considering Kent Hughes will surely want to respect the salary hierarchy established with Nick Suzuki as the highest-paid player, followed by Cole Caufield, we can imagine that the Canadiens' GM could potentially submit an offer below $7.5M annually in such a scenario.

Technically, there's another year left on the 2022 first overall pick's entry-level contract, meaning an extension can't be signed before July 1.

By then, Hughes's calculation will be to evaluate whether signing Slaf immediately could potentially save a few million in the long term, or if he prefers to take the risk of waiting another evaluation season that could increase his salary in the event of a productive campaign.
February 20   |   487 answers
WOW: 64-Million Dollar Contract for Juraj Slafkovsky to Be Announced Imminently?

Would you sign Slafkovsky to an 8-year deal worth $64M ($8M annually)?

Yes28758.9 %
No20041.1 %
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