Photo credit: HabsOlumentFan

Things Just Got Worse For This Canadian Team's Star Prospect

Published December 29, 2023 at 2:56 PM
In the modern age of hockey, hitting has seemed to become less and less the focus of the sport. With more and more skilled players developing, hockey fans have noticed a downward trend in how physical the game has been. This leads us to last night, where Hurricanes forward Stefan Noesen lays a massive hit on Montreal's first overall prospect, Juraj Slafkovsky.

Slafkovsky has had some pretty bad offensive struggles so far in the NHL, not what you wanna see from a first overall pick in the 2022 draft. He has recently looked a lot better on the ice, recording back-to-back multi point games before this contest. His biggest problem lies somewhere else though, in the fact that he has been struggling to acclimate to NHL hockey.

Even though hits are down year over year and the game is becoming less physical, there still is of course a massive element of physicality in the league. One very important skill that seems to have been lost nowadays is the skill of learning how to take a hit. This is a glaring issue in Slafkovsky's game, as he has been caught multiple times with his head down, resulting in a massive hit and subsequent injury. It's alarming to see how little time he has spent in the NHL, and during that time how many times he has been caught unaware of his surroundings.

This is shown in the BarDown sports clip, as Slafkovsky is yet again caught lowering his head when breaking out of his own zone, and a player who has been in the NHL as long as Noesen is not going to pass up the opportunity to play the body. It was a clean hit on Slafkovsky (although habs fans will definitely say otherwise) and it is unfortunate that it results in Slafkovsky yet again leaving a game early due to injury. If he can find his feet in the physical NHL game he may be able to develop into a great player, but it's no secret that all this missed time is never good for a young player.

UPDATE: Slafkovsky cleared concussion protocol earlier today, and returned to practice with the team.

December 29   |   278 answers
Things Just Got Worse For This Canadian Team's Star Prospect

Do you think injuries will derail Slafkovsky's career?

He will be too injury prone9534.2 %
He will learn how to take a hit and pan out well10738.5 %
He will be a draft bust either way7627.3 %
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