Connect with us

Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Kent Hughes On Slafkovsky’s Development & Timeline



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes had some interesting views on Juraj Slafkovsky’s development path and what’s yet to come for their former 1st overall pick.

Despite his club playing .500 hockey and slightly defying NHL betting odds as of late, the focus for Hughes this season remains the development of the club’s many youngsters on the roster.

None is likely more important than the development of Juraj Slafkovsky at this junction of the Montreal Canadiens’ rebuild.

Hughes was recently on The Eye Test podcast with Pierre McGuire and BHN’s own Jimmy Murphy to talk about the ongoing development of the organization’s top youngsters.

According to the Hughes, the organization is more than satisfied with the progression in Slafkovsky’s game, while also admitting that development isn’t always linear.

“From the start of the year, we’ve seen an improvement in him from the prior season. We know it’s not a straight line,” said Hughes regarding Slafkovsky’s growth so far this season. ” In fact, I remember sitting in Geoff Molson’s office saying that I really liked where Slaf’s game is going, and, I think, the following night, was probably his worst game of the year (chuckles).”

However, when pressed to dissect the aspects of Slafkovsky’s game that have improved, Hughes provided a little more detail into the types of conversations the organization and the Montreal Canadiens’ coaching staff has been having with their former 1st overall pick this season.

“I think there’s no question that they (the coaching staff) are seeing the progression in his game,” said Hughes about how Slafkovsky has evolved this season. “His strength along the walls, his ability to protect pucks. Last year, he’d get bumped and knocked off balance. He’d lose the puck. He’s learning to take his stick off the puck as he absorbs physical contact and repossess the puck afterwards; a few little tricks of the trade of playing here in North America, especially at the NHL level. There’s more to come.”

As of late, the Canadiens have seemingly rewarded the progression of their young power forward by promoting him to the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, a step that Hughes feels will take some adjustment and challenge Slafkovsky to further diversify his game.

“You can tell he doesn’t have his full confidence yet playing around the net, especially with (Nick) Suzuki and (Cole) Caufield, he’s looking to move the puck all the time. I think that’s all part of him figuring things out, step by step,” said Hughes regarding the next phase of Slafkovsky’s development. We’re trying to be very mindful about not popping off 20 things on his ‘To Do’ list in terms of needs for improvement, because we all know that hockey is such an instinctive and reactive game and we don’t want to take that away from him. I think last year, we probably did; and I think that was bound to happen one way or another. But, as we move forward here, let’s tackle to things and then move to the next.”

Ultimately, the Montreal Canadiens appear content to let Slafkovsky continue to grow under the tutelage of head coach Martin St-Louis, all while providing him important minutes on the top line and, as of last week, the team’s first power play unit.

Despite the increased responsibilities, Kent Hughes believes that Slafkovsky has only scratched the surface of his potential as a premier NHL power forward.

“I still think it’s going to be another three or four years before we can see what Slaf can be,” concluded Hughes.


**To watch the full episode of The Eye Test, see the link below:



*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel