Canadiens’ Slafkovsky, Guhle impressed early at coaching camp

BROSSARD, Que. – You need the primary total choose within the draft to face out, however you actually do not anticipate him to be the most effective participant on the ice in his first stint at NHL coaching camp.

With the caveat that it was only a scratch, and that not each participant Juraj Slafkovsky confronted on Friday goes to be within the NHL this season, there was no query that he was the most effective on the ice He stood out on each transfer, giving us a glimpse of the assorted abilities that noticed him chosen over Shane Wright and every thing else by the Montreal Canadiens final July.

Begin with the power of the six-foot-four, 238-pound winger.

On one among Slafkovsky’s first strikes, skating on the best facet of a line that had Owen Beck within the center and Rafael Harvey-Pinard on the left, he obtained right into a unfastened battle with Joel Armia. With one hand on his bat, Slafkovsky fought off the verify of Armia’s stick as he swatted away a fly.

You possibly can say a whole lot of issues about Armia – about what he does and does not do – however one factor you possibly can’t say is that he is not robust on his stick. The six-foot-three, 218-pounder has that power above all different abilities and was made to look weak by the 18-year-old.


As was the that means of hockey Slafkovsky.

He was in the best locations in all three zones and supported the play to get the puck on his stick on virtually each transfer.

After which there was what the massive Slovak did with it.

He took on Harvey-Pinard to make his facet 2-0 up, making a sluggish transfer earlier than sending an aerial move for Harvey-Pinard to faucet in. And on his closing transfer of the sport, Slafkovsky stationed himself on the best wall within the offensive zone, ready for a move from the purpose and hesitantly one-timed a move to Jordan Harris for a shot that created Harvey-Pinard rebounded residence for a 5-1 win.

This was after Slafkovsky led two rushers up the ice for profitable zone entries, after watching the play develop so he may make a no-look move to Harris with seconds to spare. left on the clock.

Throughout the recreation, Slafkovsky confirmed good velocity and skated effectively. He had quite a few scoring alternatives, displaying off his fast launch with pictures from numerous angles, solely to be thwarted by spectacular saves from the opposing guests. And his capturing got here off heavy and exhausting when he had time and on internet when he did not.

All in all, this was the form of begin the child would have hoped for – and one the Canadians needed to be pleased with.

What did coach Martin St. Louis take away from him?

“You possibly can inform, like bodily, it is there,” he stated. “He is bodily robust, has good tempo, can push individuals again, can win battles. It was good to see him play in opposition to some NHL guys.”

A show of Kaiden Guhle’s maturity

It is not usually you hear a first-round choose like Guhle (picked sixteenth total by the Canadiens in 2020) say he was higher off going again to the youth ranks than ‘ play within the professionals final yr.

Not that it was so sensible that Guhle, at 19, was going to man Montreal’s blue line full-time.

Nonetheless, the concept did not appear to be accomplished for not less than just a few video games so lengthy after seeing him behave as professionally as he did throughout coaching camp. The Guhle seemed bodily able to play at this degree making it far more cheap.

However there is a distinction between wanting prepared and feeling prepared and, after the pandemic restricted him to simply 11 video games final season, the Edmonton native stated Friday he did not really feel prepared.

“I felt there have been occasions after I wasn’t prepared for it but, I used to be nonetheless a bit too younger,” Guhle instructed us after his prolonged media scrum wrapped up.

He returned final fall to the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, posted 15 factors in 17 video games earlier than being traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings, and completed the common season with 5 objectives and 25 factors in 25 video games.

In between, Guhle loved the World Junior Championship – not less than within the video games performed earlier than the event was suspended as a result of COVID – after which, this spring, he helped the Oil Kings to a championship WHL win.

Guhle suffered a lower-body damage by means of three Memorial Cup video games after which did not get a lot relaxation earlier than pushing by means of his summer season exercise forward of Montreal coaching camp.

What distinction does one yr make when it comes to feeling prepared?

“I feel it was huge,” Guhle instructed us. “I feel one yr, simply taking part in a whole lot of video games, getting a whole lot of totally different conditions, it was huge for me and my recreation. I feel one yr was huge for me in my improvement. I feel I performed 11 video games the yr earlier than, so I feel it was huge for me to return and simply form of get used to the sport and the movement and work on my recreation. I feel it was nice for me to return. “

It exhibits early on this camp, the place Guhle, former captain of Group Canada and MVP of the WHL playoffs, seems so comfy and assured.

“He seems like a professional,” stated Canadiens veteran David Savard, who was with Guhle throughout the morning scrimmage. “He seems like he is been round a very long time. He has confidence when he is on the ice and he has the puck to make performs, and it is enjoyable to see when a younger man is assured on the ice and you understand he’ll make good reads.”

The child can be given each probability to make this crew, and you must love his possibilities to make it.

“He is obtained good dimension, he is obtained good motion, he is obtained good contact, he is obtained every thing,” St. Louis stated. “So, that alone, what he has, very assured that he’ll play within the NHL.

“However now we have now to determine what sort of participant he’ll be within the NHL, and a whole lot of that accountability falls on him, and he’ll be supported by a employees of individuals that can assist his recreation . We’ll see the place it takes him, however the package deal alone is NHL stuff.”

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