Team Slovakia announced their final roster that will take part in the 2023 World Junior Championship, and Canadiens forward Juraj Slafkovsky was not part of the lineup.
The Canadiens’ other Slovakian first-round pick, Filip Mesar, will make his way to Halifax and Moncton for the tournament and should play a prominent role for a Slovakian team that is hoping to avoid a last-place finish in their division.
Slafkovsky’s odds of playing for Slovakia took a severe, if not encouraging hit in the last six games.
Thanks to excellent play since the start of the month, Slafkovsky is starting to establish his value in the NHL.
Not only has he earned four points in his last six games, but his underlying numbers have also risen to the point that his increased production could be considered sustainable.
Since the start of December, Slafkovsky ranks third among Canadiens players in shot share (57.3 percent) and scoring chance share (52.3)
Well, it’s not as much of a secret as a predictable result of an increase in ice time and the quality of his linemates.
Slafkovsky's patience, Anderson's determination to get to the net… this is just a great hockey play. 💪
— NHL (@NHL) December 13, 2022
As for Mesar, he’s also enjoyed a resurgence since returning to play from an upper-body injury.
Mesar has scored 10 goals and 12 assists in 17 games for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers this season, including four goals in his last three games.
His shot rate, in particular, has seen a significant uptick, with 20 shots on net in his last four games.
Šanca Na Vykúpenie
Slovakia is not expected to medal, but they will have an opportunity to improve upon their performance at the 2022 World Junior Championship.
Following a hard-fought 5-4 loss in their opening game of the tournament, Slovakia proceeded to get blown out of the water by Canada 11-1. They did manage to win an overtime matchup against Latvia, but it was quickly followed by another big loss, 9-3 to Finland.
Unfortunately, their goal difference (-16) was not good enough to qualify for the playoff round.
The 2023 World Junior Championship is set to start on Dec.26 and will take place in Halifax and Moncton.
Slovakia opens their tournament on Dec.27, facing last year’s silver medalists, Finland.
Click here for the complete roster.