Slafkovsky could follow the same path as Suzuki: here's what some experts think is the next step in his case

Jeff Drouin
October 19, 2022  (4:15 PM)

It was inevitable, everyone's eyes were going to be on young Juraj Slafkovsky this season and expectations were going to be high for him. It's normal, people expect a first overall pick to single-handedly revive a team, like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid did.

But the young Slovak is not that type of player. While he is excellent, he is not dominant in any aspect of the game other than perhaps his shot, which he still doesn't use often enough. Joel Bouchard recently wrote an excellent profile of the club's newest first round pick.
Nevertheless, many are dissatisfied with the way Martin St-Louis uses Slafkovsky. This is probably because they think that Slaf must produce at all costs. But this is not the case, the young forward must first adapt to NHL hockey, try to find his bearings, slowly gain confidence and absorb as much as possible from his teammates, on and off the ice.
For these reasons, playing on the fourth line in Montreal is great for him. BPM Sport's morning show host Jean-Charles Lajoie totally agrees, and he explained it all in his Tuesday morning editorial.
"Slafkovsky couldn't bother anyone, why? Because his two big, beautiful, noodle-rimmed butts are sitting in the right chair, on the left side of the 4th trio. Where he should have started the season, by the way." - Jean-Charles Lajoie

"The next step, as the power play takes shape as a power play, is going to be to quietly insert Slafkovsky on the 2nd power play not quickly. To me that's the next step. And we should, and he probably could, dial in Jake Evans as one of the one-man short-handed duos." - Jean-Charles Lajoie

It will be interesting to see if this is indeed the next step for "Slaf".
"For me, being patient with Slafkovsky is that, it's starting on 4. You can't barge in when you're on 4. You can always go to the stands or Laval, obviously. But not Slafkovsky because he doesn't hurt you, doesn't get you in trouble and doesn't cost anything." - Jean-Charles Lajoie

Still have doubts? Look at the path of the CH's current best player, captain Nick Suzuki. He began his NHL career, not many moons ago, on the right wing of the 4th line. He played, at the time, alongside Paul Byron and Nate Thompson. It doesn't seem to have turned out so bad to have started at the bottom...
Claude Julien had the same vision of things as Lajoie in the Slafkovsky case, to show him how to walk.
One thing is important with Juraj Slafkovsky, patience. Let him learn and absorb a little more and let him really get comfortable before judging him!
19 OCTOBRE   |   237 ANSWERS
Slafkovsky could follow the same path as Suzuki: here's what some experts think is the next step in his case

Do you think Juraj Slafkovsky should go to the AHL?

Yes13858.2 %
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