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The Montreal Canadiens’ Plan For Juraj Slafkosvky Next Season



NHL Trade

The Montreal Canadiens have some options as to where Juraj Slafkosvky can play next season, but don’t expect it to be the OHL.

During his visit to the Bob McCown Podcast, Montreal Canadiens executive vice president, Jeff Gorton, spoke about what the plan is for Juraj Slafkosvky next season as it pertains to where he’ll play. Gorton stressed that they were not going to force him onto the Montreal Canadiens’ roster and would have his play during camp dictate where he should play.

“Owen Power was picked 1st overall and he went back to Michigan,” said Gorton on whether he absolutely had to start Slafkovsky in Montreal. “I think we’ll do the best thing for him. I’d like to think that he would be, and we’ll give him every chance to, but if he’s not ready, we’re ready for that too.”

The options for Slafkosvky are numerous; he could play in the NHL, the AHL for the Laval Rocket, the OHL for the Eerie Otters, or he could return to TPS in Finland. The Montreal Canadiens seem intent on keeping him in North America next season, and want to give him every opportunity to crack the main roster, but wouldn’t hesitate to send him to Laval if he wasn’t ready. Gorton, however, shot down the possibility of sending Slafkovsky to junior next season, seeing it as a step back in terms of quality of play.

“He’s been playing with men; he’s been playing pro hockey, so I would think to send him back to junior doesn’t make a lot of sense right now,” said Gorton on the possibility of sending Slafkosvky to the CHL next season. “We’ll see when he comes to camp and what he’s ready for. We spent some time with him. He’s pretty mature and he understands what he needs to improve on and we’re going to help him.”

Gorton believes that Slafkosvky is in full stride on his development curve and remains very excited about the 6’3 power forward’s future. When asked to compare Slafkosvky’s playing style to players that have made an impact in the NHL, Gorton didn’t waste any time before pulling out some notable names.

“I hate to put a tag on him, but his style of play can be a little like Mikko Rantanen in Colorado, or a little like Hossa; but maybe not as defensively responsible,” said Gorton when trying to compare Slafkosvky’s playing style to current and past NHLers. “When you say Jagr, he does have that style down low to draw people to him make the contact and then feed off that and then try to get to the net or make a play. I think he’s pretty mature; he never compared himself to anyone in our interview process. He said he was going to be the best Juraj possible.”

Whether Slafkosvky starts in Montreal or Laval next season, his development will be the first big test for this new Montreal Canadiens management team. Plagued with almost a decade of failed 1st round picks, their goal to reinvigorate the Canadiens’ developmental department will be put to the test with Slafkosvky and, should they succeed, they’ll have quite the player on their hands.


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