Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovsky, Kirby Dach and RHP Strong Trio

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Kirby Dach #77 of the Montreal Canadiens brings the puck into the offensive zone as Mikhail Sergachev #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Juraj Slafkovsky #20 of the Montreal Canadiens follow the play during the first period at the Amalie Arena on December 28, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Kirby Dach #77 of the Montreal Canadiens brings the puck into the offensive zone as Mikhail Sergachev #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Juraj Slafkovsky #20 of the Montreal Canadiens follow the play during the first period at the Amalie Arena on December 28, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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The Montreal Canadiens brain trust got straight to work on the draft floor at the 2022 NHL Draft, deciding to keep their first overall selection, before making two trades to bring in a young centre to support Nick Suzuki down the middle.

Funny enough, the two players that the Canadiens got early on during the first round of the draft have found some chemistry alongside one another. Juraj Slafkovsky is looking to see an improvement in his second season and stay healthy for a full 82 games, which will be instrumental for his development. Kirby Dach had the best season of his young career during his first campaign with the Habs, and he is looking to build on that.

The potential for this Canadiens line, including 2019 seventh-round pick, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, is high, considering what each of the three players adds. Slafkovsky and Dach, are add the size factor, both are 6’3”-plus and well over 200 lbs. Harvey-Pinard, meanwhile is only 5’9” and 175 lbs, but he brings tenacity and adds a Brendan Gallagher-like mentality to the line, which bodes well for his two big linemates.

Dach plays a more finesse and skill game than intensity and physical, but he is very responsible defensively, and backchecks hard and he is strong like an ox. He is a perfect complement to his linemates because he creates space and is a very talented playmaker. Dach spent the offseason improving different areas of his game, and his shot was one of his primary focuses, which should take off because of his deceptiveness.

Harvey-Pinard delivers each and every game, never taking a shift off, St. Louis knows exactly what he will bring every time he sends him for a shift. He is relentless on the forecheck, and despite his small stature, he loves to drive hard to the net and mix it up with the opposing defenseman to try and create havoc. Last season he was afforded an enormous opportunity because of the pile of injuries, and he took full advantage of it, showing off his goal scoring prowess with 14 goals in just 34 games with the Canadiens.

Slafkovsky is the most interesting of the three, in that his pre-draft Olympic and World Championship performances with his home country, team Slovakia showed exactly why he was so highly-touted. Before the preseason games commenced, he looked tentative and like his processor was a little rusty, but during his preseason outings, he seemed to have found his rhythm. If he can find more openings for his shot, and use his size to drive defenders back, the line will be much better off because of it, and they could be a nice complement to the top line.

This line can pose problems to the opposition in a plethora of ways, and Harvey-Pinard’s tenacity should bring his linemates right into the fire. The trio is effective when cycling the puck, and they feed off one another in the offensive zone, which with a bigger sample size should spark an increase in the Habs’ overall offensive production.

Their footspeed, and two-way play should allow them to be a great line in all situations for the Canadiens, and during a big year of growth, having this line establish itself could be a massive benefit for the team.

Next. Three Habs Poised For Huge Breakout. dark

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