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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When Slafkovsky Shoots, Teams Are Left Surprised

Cole Caufield
Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages

On Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals, the Canadiens made sure to stay in Ovechkin’s grille. The Capitals did the same with Cole Caufield, which left them vulnerable to Slafkovsky. They watched tape of the powerplay and deemed that No. 20 wasn’t a shooting threat.

Well, boy were they left stunned when he decided to show everybody that he isn’t just a playmaker. He fired a nasty slapshot one-timer glove side on the left catching Charlie Lindgren. It was the type of shot that will undoubtedly draw the attention of opponents from now on.

That’s fine, NHL players adjust and Martin St. Louis made a career out of making doubters look silly. And the best part of all is that he has a shooter on each side of the powerplay. Once Slafkovsky realizes how fun it is to score, the Habs one-dimensional scheme will be a thing of the past.

With the University of Wisconsin Badgers, Caufield was underrated as a passer. Simply because he very seldom had to set up plays, since his shot is devastating. But if he can feed passes back-and-forth with Slafkovsky, while taking turns shooting, it will open up more offensive zone chances. 

The one-timer goal Slafkovsky scored is one that nobody else on the team is scoring. In the organization only Emil Heineman, Joshua Roy and Jared Davidson can beat goalies clean like that. His second goal showed that he has the hands and confidence in tight to fake out goalies. 

He joked in an interview after the game about his shot finally going in, but there is some truth to the fact that his shots hit the net. As his confidence grows, the speed and velocity of his release is sure to get quicker. It would be a very good idea if he continued shooting, his energy is infectious and the whole team appreciated seeing his gleaming grin after scoring.

I think it's safe to say, that while his numbers might not leap off the chart, nor sit atop the list of former first overall selections. But to say he has underperformed or disappointed, would discredit the 19-year-old for all the hard work he has undergone since he was selected in June 2022. Slow and steady won the race for the tortoise over the hare, and Slafkovsky is following that trajectory.