It will now be up to Canadiens coaches to bring some emotional discipline to the hockey career of 21 year old Martin Reway.
The Canadiens announced the signing of Reway to a three-year/two way entry level contract on Tuesday. If, or when he becomes a member of the Canadiens his annual salary cap hit including bonuses will be 925-thousand dollars.
Reway was Montreal’s 7th pick (116th overall) in the fourth round of what is proving to be a rich 2013 Canadiens draft. The 5’8″ Reway was playing for the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL, Already in the Canadiens organization from that draft are Michael McCarron, Jacob de la Rose and Sven Andrighetto, all of whom have already played in the NHL. Also part of that draft top were goaltending prospects Zach Fucale and the recently signed Finnish star Artturi Lehkonen.
In the three seasons since his hockey life has been an adventure. He fought with his Gatineau coach Benoit Groulx over ice time and abandoned the team for Sparta Prague in the Czech Extraliga where, despite winning league rookie-of-the-year honours his relationship with his coach deteriorated to the point where, in his second season, despite scoring at a point-per-game rate, he was suspended and ultimately his contract was transferred to Freibourg-Gotteron Switzerland where he finished last season.
Reway’s relationship with his Slovak national team coaches has also been uneven. Still, he was named team captain of what became the bronze medalists at the 2015 World Junior tournament in Montreal. Reway assisted on three goals in Slovakia’s 4-2 win over Sweden in the bronze medal game and finished the tournament with four goals, five assists in seven games.
To be fair, Christian Dube, Reway’s coach at Fribourg Switzerland this season had not complaints about his attitude or approach during the five months he was with the team during which he recorded 21 points in 19 games; a stretch interrupted by his time at the World Junior Tournament.
Reway is in a scoring slump at the World Championships in Russia with only one assist in seven tournament games. At the tournament he told Slovak reporters that he understood the path to the NHL went through the American Hockey League and the St. John’s IceCaps and was prepared to put in his time at the minor league level. When he made the comment he was hoping for a contract offer from the Canadiens while also considering a contract with home town Slovan Bratislava of the Kontinental Hockey League, clearly his second choice.
As we have found with Tyler Seguin and perhaps Jonathan Drouin, it is dangerous to judge career potential on the actions of 19 and 20 year olds. There are questions about Reway’s attitude and 5’8” 173 lb. size but there are none surrounding his hockey ability. It now becomes St. John’s head coach Sylvain Lefebvre to get the most of it.
Here’s video of some of Reway’s highlights from the 2015-2016 season. He was #10 in September/October with Sparta Prague and #87 with Fribourg-Gotteron.