Canadiens draft Juraj Slafkovsky 1st overall

Posted: 08/07/2022 in NHL
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Montreal Canadiens pulled off a mild surprise by selecting Slovakian phenom Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Slafkovsky was a consensus top-two pick, but many expected Montreal to take Kingston Frontenacs star Shane Wright to begin the proceedings.

Juraj Slafkovsky

Position: Left wing
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 218 lbs
Age: 18
Club: TPS (Finland)
Nationality: Slovak

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(Stats source: EliteProspects.com)

Slafkovsky didn’t put up eye-popping numbers like some members of this class, but he spent his draft year playing against men in one of the top leagues in the world. Against competition his own age and internationally, Slafkovsky dominated, and he truly made his mark at the Olympics: He won tournament MVP with seven goals in seven games to help Slovakia to its first-ever medal in men’s hockey. He followed that up with a team-leading nine points at the world championship in May.

His recent performances on the big stage vaulted him up many draft boards from top-five candidate to possible No. 1 and helped him finish this season as the top-ranked European skater. Slafkovsky’s tantalizing blend of size and skill has many experts projecting him to be a top-line impact player in the NHL.

Slafkovsky is Slovakia’s first top-three pick since Marian Gaborik went third overall to the Minnesota Wild in 2000.

What they’re saying

“Slafkovsky has all the assets you’re looking for in a top NHL forward. He’s a 6-foot-4 winger who can beat opponents with speed and skill. He possesses outstanding puck skills and can put pucks through legs and sticks at a very high rate. Slafkovsky can use finesse or power and quickness to get around defenders. Slafkovsky can also set up and finish plays well,” wrote The Athletic’s Corey Pronman.

“Slafkovsky is built like a power forward, with a 218-pound frame that makes him one of the draft’s heaviest players, but he plays the game with uncharacteristic finesse, regularly flashing hands you’d expect out of a smaller player one-on-one to pull pucks in tight to his feet,” The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler said.

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