Canadiens’ Slafkovsky, Guhle provoke early at coaching camp

BROSSARD, Que. — You wish to have the first-overall pick out within the draft to face out, however you don’t essentially be expecting him to be the most productive participant at the ice in his first-ever scrimmage at an NHL coaching camp.

With the caveat that it used to be only a scrimmage, and that now not all the avid gamers Juraj Slafkovsky went up towards on Friday are destined for the NHL this season, there used to be no query he used to be the most productive at the ice. He stood out on each and every shift, providing a glimpse of the quite a lot of talents that noticed him selected above Shane Wright and the entire others by way of the Montreal Canadiens this previous July.

Get started with the six-foot-four, 238-pound winger’s power.

On certainly one of Slafkovsky’s first shifts, skating at the proper wing of a line that had Owen Beck at centre and Rafael Harvey-Pinard at the left, he were given right into a loose-puck struggle with Joel Armia. With one hand on his stick, Slafkovsky fought off Armia’s stick-check like he used to be swatting a fly away.

You’ll say a large number of issues about Armia — about what he does and doesn’t do — however something you’ll be able to’t say is that he isn’t robust on his stick. The six-foot-three, 218-pound winger boasts that power above all different talents and he used to be made to seem susceptible by way of the 18-year-old.

Spectacular.

As used to be Slafkovsky’s hockey sense.

He used to be in the correct spots in all 3 zones and supporting the play to get the puck on his stick on nearly each and every shift.

After which there used to be what the large Slovak did with it.

He used to be giving at the give-and-go with Harvey-Pinard on his aspect’s 2-0 function, creating a slick transfer prior to sending an aerial go for Harvey-Pinard to faucet in. And on his remaining shift of the sport, Slafkovsky parked himself at the proper wall within the offensive zone, waited for a go from the purpose and with out hesitation fired a one-time go throughout to Jordan Harris for a shot that generated a rebound Harvey-Pinard drove house for a 5-1 win.

This used to be after Slafkovsky led two rushes up the ice for a success zone entries, after he took a look on the play growing so he may make a no-look go to Harris with seconds final at the clock.

All over the sport, Slafkovsky confirmed excellent pace and skated neatly. He had a number of scoring possibilities, popping his fast unlock with pictures from other angles, simplest thwarted by way of some spectacular saves by way of the goaltenders he confronted. And his shot got here off heavy and tough when he had time and on web when he didn’t.

All in all, it used to be the kind of get started the child would have was hoping for — and one the Canadiens needed to be proud of.

What did trainer Martin St. Louis remove from it?

“You’ll inform, like bodily, he’s there,” he mentioned. “He’s robust bodily, excellent pace, can push other people again, can win battles. It used to be great to peer him taking part in towards some NHL guys.”

Kaiden Guhle’s adulthood on show

It’s now not regularly you listen a first-round pick out, like Guhle used to be (selected sixteenth total by way of the Canadiens in 2020), say he used to be returning to junior than taking part in within the professionals remaining 12 months.

Now not that it used to be all that real looking that, at 19, Guhle used to be going to be patrolling Montreal’s blue line full-time.

Alternatively, the speculation of him doing it for a minimum of a couple of video games didn’t appear all that farfetched after gazing him behavior himself as professionally as he did via coaching camp. That Guhle seemed bodily able to play at this degree made it that a lot more real looking.

However there’s a distinction between taking a look able and feeling able and, after the pandemic restricted him to only 11 video games the season prior, the Edmonton local mentioned on Friday that he didn’t really feel able.

“I felt that there have been instances the place I nonetheless wasn’t fairly able for it, I used to be nonetheless just a little bit too younger,” Guhle informed us after his long media scrum wrapped.

He returned remaining fall to the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, posted 15 issues in 17 video games prior to being traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings, and completed out the common season with 5 targets and 25 issues in 25 video games.

In between, Guhle inspired on the Global Junior Championship — no less than within the video games that have been performed prior to the event used to be postponed because of COVID — after which, within the spring, helped the Oil Kings win the WHL championship.

Guhle nursed a lower-body damage via 3 Memorial Cup video games after which took little or no leisure prior to pushing via his summer season regimen forward of Montreal’s coaching camp.

How a lot distinction does 365 days make with regards to feeling able?

“I feel it used to be large,” Guhle informed us. “I feel 365 days, simply taking part in a large number of video games, getting installed a large number of other scenarios used to be large for me and my recreation. I feel 365 days used to be large for me in my building. I feel I performed 11 video games the 12 months prior, so I feel it used to be large for me to return and simply roughly get used to the sport and the drift and paintings on my recreation. I feel it used to be superior for me to return.”

It’s appearing early on this camp, the place Guhle, who used to be captain of Staff Canada and MVP of the WHL playoffs, seems so comfy and assured.

“He looks as if a certified,” mentioned Canadiens veteran David Savard, who paired up with Guhle all through the morning scrimmage. “He looks as if he’s been round for a very long time. He has self belief when he’s at the ice and has the puck to make performs, and it’s a laugh to peer when a tender man is assured at the ice and you already know he’s going to make excellent reads.”

The child might be given each and every alternative of constructing this group, and you’ve got to like his probabilities of doing so.

“He’s were given excellent dimension, he’s were given excellent mobility, his touches are excellent, he’s were given all of it,” mentioned St. Louis. “So, that on my own, what he has, beautiful assured he’ll play within the NHL.

“However now we’ve were given to determine what sort of participant he’s going to be within the NHL, and a large number of that accountability falls on him, and he’s going to be supported by way of a personnel of people who can lend a hand his recreation. We’ll see the place he’s taking it, however the bundle on my own is NHL subject matter.”

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