3 Canadiens players who were the biggest surprises in 2023-24

The Montreal Canadiens weren’t surprising anyone this season, but their fans got to see a few players who enjoyed some surprising 2023-24 campaigns.
Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
2 of 4

Few saw Juraj Slafkovsky enjoying an incredible sophomore season

Unless Alex Newhook scores about 20 points in the final week of the season, it’s safe to project Juraj Slafkovsky has taken fourth place on the team in points this season, and wow, what a difference a year has made for the 20-year-old. 

Slafkovsky could still easily hit the 50-point mark if he lands just two more points, and he can also hit the 20-goal milestone, or even end the year with 30 assists. But even if he remains with just 48 points on the year, we all need to consider it a successful outing when you compare this season’s numbers to last year’s.

So far, his points total has increased by an eye-popping 38, and he’s also scored 15 more goals, while his average total ice time was up by over five-and-a-half minutes. Overall, Slafkovsky was a more physical, confident player, and his play in all three zones gives the vibe that he will be a franchise cornerstone. 

If Slafkovsky moves up yet another rung in the NHL echelon next season, he will no longer surprise us. Expectations have more than risen for the first-overall pick in 2022, and now, it’s time to see how he deals with those expectations. But if his high draft status serves as an indication, it’s safe to say he will more than exceed them.