Juraj Slafkovsky may have less than half a season under his belt with the Montreal Canadiens, but the rookie says he’s “confident” that a Stanley Cup is in the group’s near future.
On the most recent episode of Chris Nilan’s The Raw Knuckles podcast, the former Habs enforcer had the 19-year-old on as a guest. Over the course of the interview, the rookie discussed multiple topics including being drafted first overall and finishing high school amidst the season.
“I went back home like three weeks ago to graduate from high school. That’s kind of funny. It’s not what every NHL player goes home for,” The Slovakian said, laughing. “I had to do it for my parents.”
Slafkovsky scored 10 points over 39 games with Montreal this past season before an injury kept him out for the second half. While it was disappointing to watch from the stands, Slafkovsky said he learned a lot observing his teammates and opponents.
“In a game, they just tell you what to do. you don’t see what other guys are doing,” he explains. “It helps a lot (…) You’re always trying to get better.”
Playing under head coach Martin St. Louis has also been beneficial to his development. Unlike some coaches that “are trying to gain respect from the guys,” new players like Slafkovsky responded to St. Louis immediately.
“The way [St. Louis] sees the game, it’s just like crazy (…)” Slafkovsky told Nilan. “I learned so much.”
As for what the future holds for him and his teammates, the young forward is not shy to admit he foresees the Canadiens winning a championship with their current core.
“It’ll come back for sure,” he told Nilan, who was part of the 1986 championship team, adding that fans might just have to be “a little patient”.
“With this group of guys (…) I’m sure there will be some good playoff runs for our team,” Slafkovsky said. “Of course, we talk about it (…) We want it.”
While he is currently spending the offseason in his home country of Slovakia, Slafkovsky says he intends to return to Montreal at least one month before training camp begins.