Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovsky Has Perfect Answer When Asked Why Habs Should Draft Him

Feb 19, 2022; Beijing, China; Team Slovakia forward Juraj Slafkovsky Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2022; Beijing, China; Team Slovakia forward Juraj Slafkovsky Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens won the NHL Draft Lottery and have the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. We will find out who they select with that top pick on July 7th, but it seems to be narrowed down to two options.

Shane Wright has been the consensus top pick for this draft since he was granted exceptional status to join the OHL as a 15 year old for the 2019-20 season. He did nothing to sway that opinion with a terrific season for the Kingston Frontenacs that year and he just had 94 points in 63 games for them this season.

He plays a terrific all-around game with many scouts comparing him to Patrice Bergeron. Wright may never score 100 points at the NHL level, but he will score somewhere between 60-85 and also play on the top penalty kill and shutdown line for most of his career.

Juraj Slafkovsky has emerged as a late contender for the top pick though. He had an okay season in Liiga, scoring ten points in 31 games, but was named MVP at the Olympics after scoring seven goals in seven games. He also had nine points in eight games at the men’s World Championships, fascinating scouts with his ability to score against mature competition.

When Bob McKenzie released his final NHL Draft rankings on TSN earlier this week, it was Slafkovsky on top of five scouts lists and Wright leading the way in four of them. Slafkovsky was interviewed by James Duthie after the rankings were released and had the perfect answer when asked why the Canadiens should take him first overall.

“I was reading that Suzuki and Caufield need a left wing…. well, I’m sitting right here, if they want”

Slafkovsky was quick to point out that the Canadiens have an opening on their top line that he could fill. The Canadiens do have a dynamic duo of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield but they could use a power forward type left winger like Slafkovsky to fill in alongside them on the top unit.

In not so many words, the Slovakian winger pointed out that he would be a perfect fit in their lineup and he is not wrong. The Canadiens have used Josh Anderson in that role to some success, but Anderson and Caufield are both natural right wingers and beast suited to play that side.

Slafkovsky showed he is ready to compete against men and would be a good complement to the skill of Suzuki and Caufield. Slafkovsky is big and somewhat physical, but he also has the skill to create a play and score a goal when he gets the opportunity.

He isn’t wrong about his assessment, but it doesn’t mean he is necessarily a better long term fit than Shane Wright. We will have to see what the Canadiens think about his potential alongside Suzuki and Caufield on July 7th.

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