The development of young forward Juraj Slafkovski with the Canadiens is moving too slowly for one’s liking and the Slovak’s age offers some opportunities for the Montreal organization, but its general manager Kent Hughes refuses to compromise.
The first pick in the 2022 National Hockey League (NHL) draft, the 19-year-old winger has scored 15 points in 57 games since his Bettman Circle debut. Although a knee injury derailed his 2022-23 campaign, it’s hard for some to explain the incredible performance of the skater, who has collected two goals and three assists in 18 games this season.
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Also, is Slafkovsky’s participation in the next World Junior Championship in the Habs’ plans? With head coach Martin St-Louis’ team’s recent decline in the standings and possible elimination from the playoff race, this scenario should not be ruled out.
“When we get to the right time, we will make an assessment. I know that people in Canada believe that every player should get a chance to play at the World Junior Championship which can serve as a springboard for their career. (However), it’s just one week of hockey and I don’t think that alone will build a hockey player; it’s more of a working life. “But we will look at it when necessary,” Hughes told sport.sk.
Judging by the CEO’s comments, the Canadian will let Slafkovski continue his journey in Montreal if there are results.
“Again, if for any reason we feel there has been a drop in confidence and it would be a big opportunity for him, we will analyze that,” he added.
Among other possible avenues, a demotion to the Laval Rocket later in the regular season could allow the left-handed shooter to rack up more points and gain a dose of increased confidence. CH will be careful about this though.
“I am not ruling out any possibility. But if we decide to send Juraj to Laval, it will simply be because we think it is the best possible step for his development. Among the few kids we transferred, a couple were very effective for us in training camp, but when we transferred them, we told them, “we could be a better team with you in Montreal, but you wouldn’t be better players playing for us,” the host commented.
“If at any point we feel that a stop in Laval will help him become the best version of himself at the age of 22, we will consider the idea. Except we’re not there yet,” he continued.
6 players demoted to AHL at the end of their career –