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Canadiens select Juraj Slafkovsky No. 1 overall in NHL draft

Sportsnaut
Feb 19, 2022; Beijing, China; Team Slovakia forward Juraj Slafkovsky (20) shoots the puck against Team Sweden forward Joakim Nordstrom (42) during the first period in the bronze medal men s ice hockey game during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at National Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens selected Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS Turku with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday night in Montreal.

The crowd at the Bell Centre appeared to have mixed feelings about the decision after Slafkovsky’s name was called by Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes. Shane Wright of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs also was a candidate for the top slot.

The Canadiens, who finished the 2021-22 season with a league-low 55 points (22-49-11), were selecting the top overall pick of the draft for the sixth time in franchise history — and first since taking Doug Wickenheiser in 1980.

Slafkovsky, 18, was named Most Valuable Player at the 2022 Beijing Olympics after scoring a tournament-high seven goals in seven games while representing Slovakia. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder collected just 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 31 games with TPS Turku in Liiga, Finland’s top professional men’s league.

–Field Level Media