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Habs owner 'naively underestimated the backlash' to Mailloux pick

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It's been nearly two years since the Montreal Canadiens decided to draft Logan Mailloux 31st overall in 2021, and team owner Geoff Molson admits he never expected the level of public scrutiny that followed.

"I was expecting that there was a backlash, but I think I naively underestimated the backlash and I've publicly said that and I was really upset about it and it's something that I learned a lot from," Molson told The Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan on Thursday.

In November 2020, Mailloux was charged and fined for invasion of privacy and defamation in Sweden after photographing a woman without consent during a sexual encounter and then identifying her to his teammates and sharing the picture with them.

He announced prior to the draft that he was withdrawing himself from consideration as he felt he hadn't "demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege."

"It was serious," Molson added. "It was a big deal that I took very seriously and I was and still am totally committed to turning a difficult situation into something that is a learning experience for the whole population that follows us.

"I know that Logan has committed to doing that and he's been through a lot of consultation and he's had a lot of help and he's committed to that. He's a good kid who made a big mistake and we're going to help him along and we'll see how it all turns out."

Mailloux, a 19-year-old defenseman, is currently playing for the OHL's London Knights, where he's tallied 53 points in 59 games.

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