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The Habs must offer Juraj Slafkovsky an eight-year contract this summer, says Antoine Roussel
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Juraj Slafkovsky has been on an incredible streak for the past two months. In fact, his month of February has been nothing short of breathtaking. With nine points, he’s the NHL’s third-highest scorer since the start of February, tied with Matthew Tkachuk and Travis Konecny. The only two ahead of him are Nick Suzuki (10) and Connor McDavid (13).

In view of this breathtaking sequence, NHL veteran Antoine Roussel explained on TVA Sports’ JiC program on Friday that the Habs owe it to Slafkovsky to offer him a contract as soon as possible.

Not only should the Habs give the Slovak a contract extension as soon as possible, but Roussel also thinks it should be an eight-year deal.

It’s true that such a contract could be a good idea, but it represents a risk. It’s important to understand that Slafkovsky is having a great time, but he could very well slow down at some point. He could also explode and become an NHL star.

The Devils took that risk with Jack Hughes in 2021. He signed an eight-year extension worth $64 million ($8 million per season). In his third season with the Devils, he exploded into the star player he is today.

For the time being, the two players are off to a fairly similar start to their careers when compared after the same number of NHL games.

The Canadiens’ first overall pick’s NHL entry-level contract expires at the end of the 2024-25 season, so there’s not that much press, but signing him early could save Kent Hughes some money should Slafkovsky blow up during the next campaign.

Slafkovsky remains a surprise package. For many Canadiens fans, he’s a joy, but for Mike Stephens and Rachel Doerrie of The Staff & Graph Podcast, he’d be a bust.

Both hosts think Slafkovsky is a flop because he hasn’t yet reached point per game and was a first overall pick. As we’ve just seen, Jack Hughes had a similar start to the season to Slafkovsky in terms of points, and there was no problem after all.

It’s worth remembering that the Slovak is still only 19 years old! Still, both laugh at the Habs organization and compare their young player to other NHLers like Nils Hoglander of the Vancouver Canucks.

Slafkovsky is developing well, mainly because Martin St-Louis had faith in him and placed him on the team’s first line. For Jean Trudel (or JT Utah), having a young coach like St-Louis has helped Slaf‘s development.

According to JT Utah, if the Habs had a coach in the style of John Tortorella, Slafkovsky would probably have been a flop because he would have had broken morale.

Kent Hughes probably hasn’t discussed a contract renewal with Slafkovsky yet, but a little birdie tells me the idea must be going through his head when he sees how well his first-round pick is performing.

In bursts

– Quebecers are fed up with Montreal!

– Incredible shot.

– A “little” newcomer with the Blue Jays.

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