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NHL News & Notes: McAvoy, Canadiens Sign Leskinen & More

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In today’s News & Notes, Charlie McAvoy is set to have a hearing following an illegal check to the head, the Montreal Canadiens have signed Otto Leskinen and the Calgary Flames have signed Carl-Johan Lerby.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Babcock, Holland, Therrien & More

McAvoy to Have Hearing With Department of Player Safety

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has summoned McAvoy for a hearing following an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets’ forward Josh Anderson. McAvoy was assessed a two-minute minor for the incident but likely should have gotten a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Charlie McAvoy Bruins
Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins, Dec. 2, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This was a major turning point in the game as the Bruins were only up 1-0 at the time and a five-minute penalty could have skewed things significantly. Beyond that, McAvoy’s presence in the third period was also huge as he’s been the Bruins’ top defender this postseason and logged 24:42 of ice time in Game 6.

Despite McAvoy and Anderson shaking hands and holding no-ill will to each other after the game, smiling and laughing with each other, the Department of Player Safety has determined that this hit is worthy of supplemental discipline. This is the right call given the fact that it was a clear headshot. Though McAvoy has no prior history with supplemental discipline, he should still receive a suspension for this incident.

Canadiens Sign Otto Leskinen

The Canadiens signed Leskinen to a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced Tuesday. The 22-year-old went undrafted but impressive play in SM-Liiga would ultimately impress the Canadiens enough that they invited him to their Development Camp in June 2018. Fast forward one year and he’s now officially signed to an NHL deal.

Otto Leskinen Finland Canadiens
Finland’s Otto Leskinen pulls away from Russia’s Alexander Barabanov. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP /Dmitri Lovetsky)

Leskinen finished the 2018-19 season with eight goals and 31 points, leading all defenders on the team in goals, assists and points for the season. He’d also finish fourth on the team in points overall, 17 ahead of the next closest defender.

For the Canadiens, this is a solid under-the-radar signing. Whether Leskinen pans out to be an NHL regular or not isn’t yet known, but getting the young bleuliner from KalPa Kuopio without any risk is certainly a move worth making for the team if they deem him good enough for the opportunity.

Flames Sign Carl-Johan Lerby

The Flames signed Lerby to a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced Tuesday. The 21-year-old is set to remain with the Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish Elite League for the 2019-20 season but is set to join the Flames organization in 2020-21, either in the AHL or with their NHL club.

Lerby has played in the SHL for a few seasons but had a breakout season in 2018-19, scoring five goals and 21 points in 47 games, leading the team in goals and points from a defender and ranking sixth on the team overall in points. He’d also record three assists in five postseason games.

When Lerby does join the Flames, he’ll be 23-years-old. It’ll be interesting to see if he can build on his impressive 2018-19 season and prove to the Flames that he deserves a spot on their NHL roster right away. Either way, with some AHL seasoning, he should have a shot at playing in the NHL at some point next season.

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