Montreal Canadiens: Five Things Habs Need To Get For Christmas

Dec 22, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau
Dec 22, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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Juraj Slafkovsky's Offensive Breakout

The Canadiens rolled the dice on a big left winger with all kinds of tools with the first overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Juraj Slafkovsky really didn't look like he was ready for the National Hockey League as a rooke in 2022-23.

The big Slovakian scored four goals and ten points in 39 games during his first NHL campaign. He was also run over in just about every game he played as he just couldn't seem to read the play properly or have the hockey sense to avoid putting himself in dangerous spots on the ice. An inability to be elusive on the ice is what resulted in him being injured for more than half the season.

This season has looked different. After a bit of a slow start, he began to look like a dominant winger. At least in flashes on the ice. He would drive the net frequently and win battles in the corners while staying on his feet way more often than he could a year ago. His passes are crisper and harder and he is getting to the net and finding room by using his frame and his smarts to get to the open areas.

But it hasn't resulted in much more offense. In fact, in 33 games this season, Slafkovsky has four goals and 12 points. That is the same number of goals and two more points than last season in six less games played. Technically that is progress, but not much.

Hopefully, this Christmas, Slafkovsky gets the gift of putting all his tools together. Call it a mental toolbox for the first overall pick. He just needs to organize everything that he can do on the ice and finally translate it into points on the scoresheet.