Juraj Slafkovsky Scouting Report: 2022 NHL Draft #4

Juraj Slafkovsky Scouting Report, 2022 NHL Draft Rankings
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Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Juraj Slafkovsky Scouting Report. 

Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky turned heads with a dominant performance at the 2022 Olympic Games. With seven goals in seven games, he led Slovakia to a historic bronze medal. Slafkovsky led the tournament in points and was named both the tournament MVP and part of the All-Star Team. He also had a strong showing at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament where he helped his country to a silver medal. Slafkovsky scored three goals and six assists for nine points in five tournament games. He also represented his country at the World Junior Hockey Championships as well as the IIHF World Championships.

Slafkovsky played his domestic hockey in the Finnish SM Liiga. Playing for TPS Turku, he scored five goals and six assists for 11 points in 31 games. He also added two goals and five assists for seven points in 18 playoff games. Slafkovsky helped Turku reach the finals, but unfortunately, they came up short. Ha also spent some time in the Finnish Under-20 League. Slafkovsky was dominant against his peers with four goals and seven assists in just six games.

Juraj Slafkovsky Scouting Report

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born March 30th, 2004 — Kosice, Slovakia
Height 6’04 — Weight 218 [192 cm / 99 kg]

Skating

Slafkovsky is already 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds. With his big frame, his skating is a bit of a work in progress. He needs to work on his first few steps and his acceleration. However, once he gets moving, his top-end speed is good. He is more than able to keep up with the play. That said, hockey is a game full of many stops, starts, and changes of direction as opposed to skating in a straight line. As such he can improve if he can get more comfortable in this area of his game. His agility and edgework need a little bit of work as well. This would help him to get around defenders both with and without the puck.

One area that which Slafkovsky excels is with his balance and power. He is very hard to knock off the puck and can fight through checks and get to the net. Slafkovsky also does a really good job of winning battles along the boards. He could be even better in this area as he continues to fill out his frame.

Offensive Game

Slafkovsky is a power forward. He uses his size and skill to his advantage. He is a puck possession monster. Slafkovsky is a very good stick-handler and uses his long reach and big body to protect the puck down low in the cycle game. When he gets the opportunity, he can take the puck to the front of the net and finish in tight to the goal with his soft hands. He also has a very good shot. His one-timer is powerful and accurate. His wrist shot also has good power and accuracy. He gets it off with a quick-release that helps to fool goaltenders from further out.

Slafkovsky forechecks effectively, forcing opposing defenders to move the puck quickly which often leads to turnovers. He is also good at winning the puck on the boards. Slafkovsky is also a good passer. He can put the puck through tight lanes and onto a teammate’s stick. However, he does need to work on his decision-making in the offensive end. He sometimes can pick a much harder pass than simply moving it to an open teammate.  He also needs to do a better job of finding open ice without the puck so he can receive a pass for a scoring chance. His quick hands help him to make quick moves to open up shooting and passing lanes.

Defensive Game

Slafkovsky’s size also helps him in the defensive end. His long stick is very good at cutting down passing lanes. He is also strong on the boards and helps to contain the cycle down low. He needs to work on his awareness and positioning though. Slafkovsky can sometimes get out of position and lose his man. He has a tendency to puck watch at times, losing his man away from the play. Slafkovsky shows high effort and commitment though. He should improve in time with good coaching. He has the tools to be a strong two-way player but is still very raw.

Projection and Comparison

Slafkovsky has an intriguing combination of size and ability. He could become the most dominant player in this draft. However, the risk here is also pretty high as he is also under-developed as a prospect and has a few things to really work on. Expect him to spend another year or two in Europe or the AHL before he is ready for full-time NHL duty. He has the type of power forward game that nearly every team is looking for though and his potential is sky high. Slafkovsky’s game is reminiscent of Jesse Puljujarvi at times. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on his skill and ability.

Highlights

The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Juraj Slafkovsky that are available on youtube and Twitter.

Check back tomorrow for our next article on the 2022 NHL Draft.

 

Juraj Slafkovsky Scouting Report Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 27: Juraj Slafkovsky #18 of Slovakia takes a shot against Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 27, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)