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Juraj Slafkovsky on the first trio: a far cry from the days when Laval was a debatable option

Juraj Slafkovsky has been gaining in confidence over the last few games. The Canadiens’ forward is increasingly able to stand out on the ice when he plays.

And even if his last two games have been more difficult in terms of playing time (less than 14 minutes), you can also sense that he has the confidence of Martin St-Louis behind the bench.

Seeing him play once in a while with Cole Caufield in November was a good indication.

But now, to see that he’ll be able to play with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki on the first line tonight against Seattle, is proof that he’s really come on in leaps and bounds.

Offensively, he’s touching the puck more and more often. He doesn’t always make the right decisions with it, but that’s coming. Give him time.

And defensively, Martin St-Louis likes his progress. He’s not afraid to give him that challenge, which is interesting.

It would have been easy to leave Sean Monahan on the first trio. The veteran can be on the wing due to Mitchell Stephens’ recall – and he’ll be there tonight… but on the second trio.

This opens the door for Slaf.

Will he be excellent tonight? It’s hard to say. But if he can keep up with the pace, stand out from the crowd and make offensive inroads, let’s just say he could be a success.

He’ll have to get used to NiCole’s “different” style of play, but that’s just fine.

What’s interesting is that just two weeks ago, GM Kent Hughes opened the door to a dismissal in Laval. We sense that it wasn’t exactly imminent, certainly, but the door was open.

It’s not open for other guys, let’s say.

Seeing Slaf on a first trio like this shows that in recent weeks, he’s really been playing better. Good for him and for the CH, which wants to see the Slovak develop.

And clearly, we think the NHL is the place to do it.

In bursts

– The CH must improve at five-on-three.

– Nice photo.

– Nice contract.

– A name to watch.

– We love it.

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