Bottom Six Minutes: The Wright vs. Slafkovsky debate will take years to settle
There is little use in trying to settle the debate after one game, or one goal.
While managing a paltry 16 shots on goal, the Montreal Canadiens scored four times to defeat the Seattle Kraken, and end their western road swing on a positive note. It was not the type of effort that will typically yield two points for the Habs, but it was at least interesting to see the Habs make the most of their scoring chances.
It also provided the first opportunity to see Juraj Slafkovsky and Shane Wright come face-to-face since the NHL draft. It was the lede for nearly every media outlet, and a hot topic of discussion among fans.
Does Wright scoring in his first game against Montreal mean he was the right pick? Does Slafkovsky having four goals to Wright’s one mean the opposite? Neither of these questions can reasonably be answered affirmatively, but we’re likely destined to hear similar queries at least once a year when the teams meet, until and unless one of them can truly distinguish themselves as a more impactful player.
And that will likely take years. The Canadiens were clear that they wanted to draft the better player for the long run, not the better player for the immediate future. Seattle was the better team on Tuesday night, so it wasn’t surprising that Wright had the better game. Slafkovsky hasn’t been a repeated healthy scratch in Montreal, so it isn’t surprising that he has more points.
It also isn’t surprising that despite two other teams also passing on Wright, it is exclusively the Canadiens that everyone focuses on when it comes to him. He is a great hockey player, he’s likely to have a solid career, and it is unfortunate that some feel the need to determine who is the best player after just over a quarter of a season.
Hopefully there is a way that everyone can pump the brakes on this discussion, but that is likely only a possibility if the Habs moved their team to a desert somewhere and played in front of less than 5000 fans.
Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available wherever you get your podcasts. The western swing, along with its untenable game times is over for now, and we’ll return this Saturday when the Habs are back at the Bell Centre to host the Los Angeles Kings.