Juraj Slafkovsky received some disappointing news today, as his season is at risk of being over following a medical update provided by the Montreal Canadiens.
The 2022 first-round pick suffered a lower-body injury, which does not require surgery, but he is expected to need up to 12 weeks to recover.
The timeline of his recovery lines up with a return to action in mid-April, which coincides with the end of the Canadiens’ regular season.
Given they’re not going to qualify for the playoffs, it also signals a strong probability his rookie season has come to a frustrating end.
Slafkovsky has participated in 39 games, scoring four goals and six assists, averaging a little over 12 minutes of ice time per game, the lowest average among all regularly used Canadiens players this season.
It’s a particularly frustrating situation for the young player, seeing as he had enjoyed an uptick in play lately, but hadn’t hit the scoresheet in over 15 games, with his last point coming against the Ottawa Senators on Dec.14.
He was also held out of the World Junior Championship by the Canadiens, as they preferred to keep him in the NHL in an attempt to build some momentum and confidence, although it’s fair to say the decision did not go according to the plan, given his lack of offence in the NHL.
But the unfortunate injury does present the young player with an opportunity to simply turn the page on an underwhelming season, and start anew next season with a renewed sense of purpose, and hopefully, usage that is conducive to developing into an impact player in the NHL.
Working alongside Adam Nicholas and Martin St-Louis, Slafkovsky absorbed a significant amount of information this season, which can be overwhelming for an 18-year-old player trying to adapt to the North American brand of hockey.
He’s also had one of the busiest schedules in the NHL since the Draft, including an endless stream of media availabilities, not to mention the extra added attention that comes with hearing your name called first at the Draft podium.
Juraj Slafkovsky will have a chance to process some of that information, not to mention study video, which should help the team and the player isolate some of the weaknesses and focus on turning them into strengths.
Simply put, it was a difficult season for the rookie, and much of the situation he dealt with was out of his control, especially his usage, given Canadiens carried a bevy of veteran wingers on the rosters that left Slafkovsky without stable linemates or ideal ice time.
The Canadiens also provided several other injury updates.
- Jonathan Drouin suffered an upper-body injury, and will not play until the All-Star Break.
- Jake Allen suffered an upper-body injury and will miss at least one week.
- Joel Armia has an upper-body injury and will be out until the All-Star Break.
- Jake Evans will not require surgery, thankfully, but he will miss eight to 10 weeks with a lower-body injury.