Skip to content
Juraj Slafkovsky one of the candidates for a breakthrough in 2023-2024
The next race for the Calder Trophy is the talk of the summer, when Connor Bedard could be in contention for Rookie of the Year.

Another less official debate, which doesn’t see a trophy awarded at the end of the season, will also take place next season. It’s the continuation of the Calder, in fact: which second-year(sophomore) player will experience a breakthrough and stand out from the crowd?

BarDown has published a list of a few candidates on social networks, and Juraj Slafkovsky is one of them for the Habs.

Since Slaf had by far the most difficult first season offensively of any of the above players, he’s naturally the most likely candidate for a breakthrough. With just 10 points in 39 games, it would be surprising if the Slovak didn’t improve over the coming season.

That said, he’s also the least ready of the group, and it would be equally surprising if he were to experience a significant blossoming. As is often said, Slafkovsky is likely to have the opportunity to become an impact player in a few years’ time. He’s still Bambi, as of today and until proven otherwise.

Matty Beniers, once an impact player for the Kraken, is already on track to reach the next level, potentially approaching a point per game. Owen Power, meanwhile, should be a pillar in the Sabres’ anticipated playoff emergence, although his offensive ceiling is questionable.

Wyatt Johnston, Kent Johnson and Mason MacTavish all scored more than 15 goals and 40 points in their first season, all aged 19-20.

In each case, we can establish a possibility of reaching the next level.

Slafkovsky’s next level, however, is where these three players were in 2022-2023.

Don’t bet your house, and temper your expectations… even if he did improve his lung capacity during the off-season.

In a gust

– It just goes to show that you’re never safe from a big trade, even in the middle of summer.

– Marc-André Barriault will be back in the octagon.

– He deserves to have success after the last few difficult years with injuries.

More Content