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Juraj Slafkovský: Jaroslav Halak sees him taking a big step forward in 2023-24

In his native Slovakia, Juraj Slafkovský is already the talk of the town. After all, we’re talking about the first overall pick in an NHL draft, a feat that had never been achieved before the CH selected Slaf in 2022.

Clearly, this inspires young Slovaks, even if the CH prospect still has some way to go before becoming a top player in North America.

And inevitably, the fact that he’s the talk of the town means that his field hockey compatriots are often asked about him. He’s still the talk of the Slovak field hockey world.

Today, Jaroslav Halak was asked about Slafkovský in aninterview with Tomáš Prokop, a journalist for When asked what he expected from Slaf, Halak gave a rather optimistic answer:

You could see him on the ice, he’s got a good shot. He’s still young, he’ll be even stronger and faster. I think he’s going to take a big step forward this year and have a great career. – Jaroslav Halak

In the past, Halak has been quick to criticize the way Slovakia develops its young field hockey players. However, he admits he’s proud to see a progression in the country’s youngsters, who have been drafted in the first two rounds of the draft for the past two years.

He acknowledges that there is still work to be done, but Slafkovský, Simon Nemec, Filip Mesar and Dalibor Dvorsky (among others) could represent the start of a new era.

In the same interview, Halak also gives an update on his future: he expects to sign an NHL contract within the next two weeks and doesn’t rule out the possibility that 2023-24 will be his last year in the NHL. He thought he’d be back with the Rangers, but they finally signed Jonathan Quick to replace him.

In the same interview, he also gives a lot of love to Ronald Melanson, who greatly helped him progress even before he was drafted by the Habs. It’s nice to see he hasn’t forgotten those who helped him along the way at the start of his career.

I don’t know which team will benefit from the services of the goalkeeper (who doesn’t want to be a mere third goalkeeper), but you can bet he’s waiting to see if the goalkeeping situation in the NHL changes over the next few days.

A deal involving Casey DeSmith could change things for him, we agree.

But even if DeSmith does leave Montreal, we agree that it won’t open a door for Halak to return to Montreal. Even if he predicts a bright future for Slafkovský, let’s just say that I don’t expect to see the two of them ever being teammates in the NHL. That may be the case with the national team, but it’s still early days.

In gusto

– Billie Eilish wore a CH jersey when he visited Montreal last week.

– Interesting.

– Jessica Pegula advances to the final in Montreal.

– Listen now.

– Injuries continue to pile up for the Jays.

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