5 Canadiens players who must bring their A-Game to help secure an improbable wild card spot

The Montreal Canadiens are quite a few points out of a wild card spot following the All-Star Break, but if a few players step up, they may contend.

Jan 25, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan (91) celebrates with
Jan 25, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan (91) celebrates with / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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Juraj Slafkovsky must start making major strides

Juraj Slafkovsky has been better in his second season and first full year in the NHL, but he still hasn’t completely figured things out. However, now that Sean Monahan is no longer in town, someone on the Canadiens must step up and pick up where he left off. 

A few players can do this, but ideally, the former number-one pick improves and enjoys a strong final stretch of the season. Through the All-Star Break, Slafkovsky has 20 points in 49 contests, and he’s managed to avoid injury. So those are some major pluses for the 19-year-old when you compare everything to last season. 

He’s also a physical player who has earned more trust with a four-and-a-half-minute uptick in average total ice time. His possession metrics at 5-on-5 are also trending north, so as it stands, Slafkovsky just needs to put it all together, and he will finish the season strong.