With the first pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens have selected Juraj Slafkovsky.
Going into the 2021-22 season, Shane Wright was the consensus pick to be selected first, but as the year went on, other names began to rise up to challenge his status as the top prospect, and there were other players ranked number one on various lists by the end of the season, most notably Slafkovsky. Kent Hughes closely followed that shift in perception, opting for the rising stock and adding a player who projects to be a top-line winger in the NHL if paired with a good playmaking centre.
Slafkovsky stole the headlines at the top international tournaments of the year — the Olympics and World Championship — and the Slovak began to draw more interest for the top spot. Only time will tell which of he and Wright ends up being the better NHL player. Wright was the unanimous decision by the EOTP staff at number one in the SB Nation Mock Draft conducted a week ago, but there’s plenty to like about Slafkovsky’s power forwad game and finishing ability.
Now that the selection has actually been made after months of speculation, the Habs can begin building around what could be a top line of Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki, and Cole Caufield. We’ll see how having those positions locked in affects the plan for the rest of the draft, as the Habs are currently slated to make 13 more selections before tomorrow evening.
We’ll have an in-depth profile on the type of player Slafkovsky is and how his addition is expected to impact the team’s construction coming soon.