Skip to content
Juraj Slafkovsky: a better impact on the front line than Kirby Dach
Martin St-Louis placed Juraj Slafkovsky on the front line on December 4, and since then, everything seems to be running smoothly for the trio of Slovak, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. Perhaps their work isn’t making as much of a mark on the score sheet as expected, but it’s only a matter of time.

That’s what Marc Dumont of Montreal Hockey Now noticed. In fact, the most important thing to watch for Juraj Slafkovsky is his expected goals percentage (xGF%).

But what is an expected goal percentage? It’s a statistic that uses shot quality to determine which team should score more goals when a certain player is on the ice. If the percentage is above 50%, the team is deemed more likely to score a goal when the player is on the ice. If the percentage is below 50%, the team is more likely to concede a goal when the player is on the ice.

That’s all. The course is over.

Now, Marc Dumont has taken the time to compile the advanced statistics of the trio of Caufield and Suzuki with each of their three main teammates. We’re talking about Sean Monahan, Kirby Dach and Juraj Slafkovsky. What’s important to remember is that the expected goals percentage is one of the few statistics that gives a taste of what can happen with a player or a trio.

So here’s a comparison of the advanced stats of the Canadiens’ first trio with Monahan, Dach and Slafkovsky.

(Credit: Montreal Hockey Now)

Looking at the famous expected goal percentage (xGF%), we can see that the combination with Sean Monahan wasn’t meant to work. In fact, it’s below 50%, which means that the other team was expected to score more goals. That’s a bit absurd for a first trio.

With Kirby Dach, the situation is better, with a percentage just over the 50% mark. He was a good choice to go with Caufield and Suzuki, but he’s not quite up to Slafkovsky’s level in this category.

With an expected goal percentage of 59.6%, the Habs’ first trio is among the NHL’s elite in this category. That’s not to say that the trio will start scoring non-stop for the rest of the season, but it’s encouraging and shows that the quality scoring chances are there.

Although Slafkovsky has collected just one assist in six games since joining the first trio, he’s making his mark by creating good scoring chances, and he’s playing very well in all facets of the game. After six games, if Martin St-Louis didn’t think it was a good idea, Slafkovsky would already be back on the second or third trio.

All that remains to be done now is to find a way to finish off the scoring chances created by the trio. We had a very good example of this yesterday with Cole Caufield’s goal.

So let’s remain patient with this trio, which could very well become the Tricolore’s first permanent trio.

In a gust

– Magnificent.

– He’ll have to redeem himself after some poor performances.

– Bad news for the Kings.

– The former Blue Jays stays in Arizona.

More Content