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Patience is a virtue. And far too many Montreal Canadiens fans and media members seem to lack when it comes to their expectations of 2022 first-overall draft pick Juraj Slafkovsky.

To out of context, paraphrase the sage Carey Price, we all just need to chill.

I know that I’ve just infuriated about half of Montreal’s fan base, and please believe me when I say that this is not my intention. I share the same goal of all Habs fans of seeing Montreal hoist up another Stanley Cup banner – hopefully before I kick the bucket.

I, too, want Slafkovsky to bust out and become a better version of Josh Anderson but I’m also realistic about when this might become a reality.

Someone needs to start a Twitter/X hashtag campaign of #leaveslafkovskyalone.

No, he has not been under a conservatorship like Britney Spears but the irrational abuse hurled at this budding talent needs to stop.

Perhaps Slafkovsky, and for all the wrong reasons, will need to escape the wiltingly-intense Montreal media spotlight and play in the less glaring one in Laval. A break from his ridiculously intense scrutiny might do for this player what it did for Cole Caufield.

A slow but steady developmental approach was also the right one with the now budding Swedish defenceman, Mattias Norlinder.

When this highlight reel machine arrived in Canada and regressed in his development, Montreal’s mercurial fan base quickly turned on him. One minute, he was being hailed as “Norrislinder” and the next he was a pariah.

Now, Norlinder has moved from a “draft bust” to at the very least, excellent trade bait. Such is the nature of prospects growing up in the rocky terrain of Montreal’s proverbial farmlands.

If any lesson can be learned from Norlinder, it is that Habs fans and their media needed a chill pill for the developing Swede as they now do for the Slovak Slafkovsky.

While I’m not a farmer, I do like freshly husked, juicy sweet corn on the cob in the summer. I understand that what is planted in say May, will not be ripened in early June. And, neither I nor any farmer gets frustrated that the corn is not ready to be husked one month after planting.

Likewise, no amount of screaming at my backyard herbs to grow at the start of April will see them bloom before late May. I have to wait for my mint and oregano.

Likewise, if a very young hockey player, one of the youngest in the NHL, is not ready to be a major contributor, one plus a few months into his professional career, I tell myself this is simply the nature of things.

Juraj Slafkovsky is a FIVE-YEAR project. He just completed his first year. Slafkovsky has another 80 percent room for growth.

Right now, this giant young man is literally a tiny stalk in his developmental growth chart. He’s not a 5’10 forward who typically takes three to four years to reach near maturation. He’s a behemoth unicorn of a hockey player who typically has a much slower rate of development – a Josh Anderson-like rate.

You can’t rush a good thing. We fans must expect incremental improvements for year two of this project. To expect more will only lead to massive disappointment.

If Slafkovsky comes up and down from Laval, so be it. If not, there is a very good reason. The Canadiens have an excellent brain trust. And I trust “farmer” Hughes and company to develop this unique player just as I do with the Habs’ slow and painful rebuild.

The worst thing that we fans can do is stomp on this emerging “stalk.” With Slafkovsky, we have to resist the temptations of immediate gratification.

Good things take time to happen. So, I respectfully ask half of Montreal’s fans and media to relax, leave this gargantuan kid alone and let the Canadiens’ quality development department and management do their jobs.

Please. Please. Please. #LeaveSlafkovskyalone