Montreal Canadiens: 2022 Draft Progress Report - Where does Juraj Slafkovsky stack up?

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Rounding out the top ten picks were David Jiricek to Columbus, Kevin Korchinski to Chicago, Marco Kasper to Detroit, Matthew Savoie to Buffalo and Pavel Mintyukov to Anaheim.

Of that group the two forwards, Kasper and Savoie, have yet to establish themselves as NHL regulars. Kasper is playing in the AHL while Savoie is still in junior.  Meanwhile the three defensemen, Jiricek, Korchinski and Mintyukov, are all playing in the top six of their respective teams. Mintyukov in particular is off to a hot start with 19 points on the year, staking an early claim to being the cream of the defense crop.

It should be noted that the biggest surprise of the 2022 draft so far is second rounder Matthew Poitras. The 54th overall pick of the Boston Bruins has already made the jump to Beantown contributing five goals and ten assists for 15 points in 30 games this season. Shades of Patrice Bergeron, it ranks Poitras fourth in points among 2022 draftees behind only Slafkovsky, Cooley and Mintyukov.

Other names to keep an eye on include Rutger McGroarty of the Jets, Jimmy Snuggerud of the Blues and Jiri Kulich of the Sabres, all first rounders who have been progressing well and been identified as candidates to be in the top ten of any re-draft.

So to put a bow on everything, I think if this exercise proved anything it’s that 18 months is still much too early to jump to any conclusions. While Slafkovsky may not be producing consistently at a high rate, none of his draft mates really are yet either.

The fact is Slafkovsky still leads all 2022 drafted players in games played, goals, assists and points. Would it be premature to say he’s already the best player from his draft class? Of course it would. But in that case it’s probably too soon to say that he’s not the best either. That’s why it’s a progress report not a final grade.