Montreal Canadiens: Slafkovsky’s Increased Shooting Will Open Up Space For Caufield

Montreal Canadiens v Washington Capitals
Montreal Canadiens v Washington Capitals / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens have been ridiculed for their choice to select Juraj Slafkovsky first overall at the 2022 NHL Draft. 

He has been called a bust and many have questioned his decision-making. I suppose they are the same ones that wrote off Quinton Byfield and many other bigger forwards. You shouldn’t need to be patient with the first overall selection. 

I call it all silliness, look at the Buffalo Sabres - Owen Power was selected first overall and he didn’t play in the NHL right away. I don’t recall anybody calling him a bust, although he was playing against lesser competition with the University of Michigan. Power is a defenseman, but because of his large frame, the Sabres felt an extra year away from the NHL was best.

It has worked out quite well and the same thing can be said about Tage Thompson. There are countless examples of players that need time to grow into their frames. And patience has paid off each time. 

Slafkovsky is no exception and fans seem to forget that Hughes wasn’t picking for the best player on draft day. He was transparent about his belief that Slafkovsky would grow into the top player of the draft. I don’t try to play general manager, that is way above my pay grade, but it makes sense that he was very raw and needed some guidance to unlock his true potential.

And writing off players before giving them a fair chance is just as nonsense as being a couch GM. We have all been disappointed by picks and we have questioned whether or not it was the right decision. That's all right, but the guys who were put in charge are there because they know what they’re doing, so giving them a little confidence should be well warranted. 

Scouting is a very tough gig, many players are underhyped or overrated - take for example Cody Glass. Marc Bergevin reportedly asked about Cody Glass' availability when dealing former Habs captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas refused to trade Glass but was willing to move Nick Suzuki - who we all know now is having a better start to his career than Glass.

That's not to say that Glass won't develop into a great player, but simply that some players develop at a slower pace. Which results in them hitting their strides a little later than the best of their draft class.