Montreal Canadiens first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky of Kosice, Slovakia will miss the next three months with a left knee injury according to Rogers Sportsnet. The rookie left winger will not require surgery however. Slafkovsky is in fact one of two Canadiens out long term with a left knee injury. The other is center Jake Evans of Toronto, Ontario, who is projected to be out eight to 10 weeks with an injury he suffered on Saturday in a 2-1 Canadiens loss to the New York Islanders. Slafkovsky’s injury seemed to have happened on Sunday, in a 2-1 Canadiens win over the New York Rangers.
Slafkovsky in 2022-23
In 2022-23, his first in the NHL, Slafkovsky has four goals and six assists for 10 points. He is a -13 with 33 penalty minutes, two power-play points, 42 shots on goal, five faceoff wins, 24 blocked shots, 53 hits, 12 takeaways. and 13 giveaways. Slafkovsky’s power-play goal came on October 29 in a 7-4 Canadiens win over the St. Louis Blues. He scored from Chris Wideman of St. Louis, Missouri and Brendan Gallagher of Edmonton, Alberta at 13:05 of the second period and tied the game at three at the time. Slafkovsky’s power-play assist came on a goal by defenseman Arber Xhekaj of Hamilton, Ontario. Xhekaj has the distinction of being the best NHL player all-time whose name begins with the letter X as he has 13 points (five goals and eight assists).
Evans in 2022-23
In 2022-23, Evans has two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 43 games. He is a -8 with 20 penalty minutes, one power-play point, 42 shots on goal, 30 blocked shots, 22 hits, 15 takeaways and 22 giveaways. The power-play goal came on December 23, 2022 in a 4-2 Canadiens loss to the Dallas Stars. Evans’s other goal came on January 12 in a 4-3 Canadiens win over the Nashville Predators.
Canadiens struggling in 2022-23
Montreal is last in the Atlantic Division. They have a record of 19 wins, 23 regulation losses and three losses in extra time for 41 points.
Stamkos makes hockey headlines
Slafkovsky was not the only first overall pick to make hockey headlines on Wednesday. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos registered a hat trick in collecting his 500th NHL goal in a 5-2 Lightning win over the Vancouver Canucks. Slafkovsky was the first overall pick in 2022 and Stamkos was the first overall pick in 2008.