There was a big absence at Montreal Canadiens practice today, as Juraj Slafkovsky was nowhere to be seen. The team released some information on the situation, noting that the first-overall pick is undergoing testing on his upper-body injury. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports tweets that there is expected to be an additional update Wednesday on “how long he’ll be out.”
It has been an up-and-down start for the top prospect, as he at times looked completely overmatched by the speed of the NHL game. His only point came during his last game when he released a brilliant shot after getting hit hard by Josh Brown. He would end up seeing his highest amount of playing time in the game against the Arizona Coyotes, but missed Saturday’s match and now appears headed for the shelf.
Given there was already some debate over whether Slafkovsky should receive some time in the minor leagues to continue his development, an injury at this point in the year isn’t going to help things. There’s no doubting his talent, but in two of his five games on the year Slafkovsky failed to receive even ten minutes of ice time.
Should he end up out long-term, or even if it is more of a day-to-day thing, the Canadiens could still send him to the AHL when he is ready to return. For now, we’ll wait to see what kind of diagnosis is coming down the pipe.