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Juraj Slafkovský: 20-goal plateau possible this year, says Arpon Basu

Last year, the Canadiens decided to play Juraj Slafkovský in the NHL at the age of 18. It was a bold gamble, considering that guys his size don’t usually play in the NHL, but at least it gave him a taste of the world’s best field hockey league.

In terms of production, it hasn’t necessarily been easy, as the Slovakian has scored just four goals and 10 points in 39 games. And while he had his moments during the season, he still showed some interesting flashes.

And at the CH, we feel that this has helped him progress. Martin St-Louis recently said that he liked the youngster’s improvement over the course of the season and that, had it not been for his injury, production would probably have come later in the campaign.

But now, Slaf is back healthy and has put in a lot of effort to improve this summer. The question now is what the youngster can accomplish in the coming season.

And according to Arpon Basu, we can’t rule out the possibility of seeing him score 20 goals and 40 points this season.

The journalist from The Athletic believes that the 19-year-old will be entitled to a little more responsibility and that his coach will give him more chances to shine on the ice. And if his progress over the past year has really helped him, production could come (to some extent) as early as this year.

I must confess that I personally have my doubts as to whether he’ll be as productive this season. There are already quite a few forwards in town, and barring a surprise, I don’t see him playing in the top-6 on a regular basis for a good part of the season.

It’s easier to score when you’re playing with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield than with Christian Dvorak and Joel Armia, for example. And I think for a good part of the season, we’ll see Slafkovský playing with depth guys.

On the other hand, if Slaf has really progressed lately, he could eventually force his coach’s hand. Dislodging guys like Suzuki, Caufield, Dach, Newhook, Anderson and Monahan from the top-6 won’t necessarily be easy, but if an injury strikes and the youngster impresses, he could earn himself a nice audition.

And if you add a little power-play time to the mix, you could start to see some interesting production.

I think he’ll need a little more time before he’s scoring that many points, but I agree with Basu that we should see some progression from the young forward.

He’ll be back in Montreal this week to continue his preparation.

We’ll see what the Slovakian can offer this season, but even if he doesn’t score 20 goals or 40 points, there are ways for him to take his game to another level. And clearly, his preparation and the confidence of his coaches suggest it’s more than possible.

In gusts

– We wish them the best.

– Hard blow for the Jays.

– That’s right.

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