A historic draft on the horizon. Czechs are compared to superstars, Slovaks maybe number one

The NHL hockey draft is approaching, which could be a turning point from the point of view of Central Europe. Two Slovaks and one Czech have a great chance for the top five.

In total, the Czech-Slovak track can appear five times in the first, most watched round.

The Elite Prospects server, which averaged the selected draft rankings, ranked the players as follows: 3rd Juraj Slafkovský, 4th Šimon Nemec, 5th David Jiříček, 21st Jiří Kulich and 26th Filip Mešár.

From the Slovaks, forward Adam Sýkora could theoretically appear in the opening round, from the Czechs defender Tomáš Hamara and forward Matyáš Šapovaliv, who according to the website The Athletic he can cover the puck better than any of his peers.

In practice, however, you can count on three to five names.

Thanks to Jiříček and Kulich, the Czechia can experience the most successful draft since 2018, when Filip Zadina and Martin Kaut went through the first round.

The years 2002 and 2004 brought the biggest Czech harvest, with four hockey players in the opening round. In combination with Slovakia, the most successful draft is 1999 (three Czechs, two Slovaks) and again 2004 (four Czechs, two Slovaks).

However, history does not remember the triple Czech-Slovak record in the elite five. The maximum is two players. The last time this happened was in 2000, when Marián Gáborík finished third and Rostislav Klesla fourth.

The first round of this year’s talent auction begins in Montreal on Friday night, specifically at one o’clock in the morning Czech time. The remaining rounds are scheduled from 17:00.

The biggest Czech hope is fullback Jiříček. Jakub Kindl, who played with him in extra-league Pilsen, he sees in him Aaron Ekblad. Mladík’s agent Allan Walsh and Shea Weber. Unbiased scouts are drawing comparisons to Alex Pietrangelo. In all cases, these are backs who have represented Canada at the biggest events, such as the Olympics or the World Cup.

However, Jiříček himself has no game pattern. “I want to play my own game, have my own style. Of course I could mention Victor Hedman or Cale Makar, they are the best defenders in the world, but I want to be myself,” he said in an interview with the station TSN.

He does not lack self-confidence. When asked what was behind his great shot, he replied, “I don’t know, but my golf club might be the toughest in the NHL. We’ll see.”

The shot is Jiříček’s indisputable advantage. He also impressed with his height of over 190 centimeters and his ability to harden. He remained high in the draft rankings despite missing much of the season with a knee injury.

In the end, he can be number one among the defenders, he should compete with the Slovakian German for primacy. “Seven out of 10 scouts we spoke to rank the German higher, but you know how it is… All it takes is one club to go against the grain and everything changes. It happens,” wrote TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Journalists most often associate Jiříček with Philadelphia, which ranks fifth. He made the boldest tip Corey Pronman from The Athletic. According to his sources, the Czech quarterback could be taken from the second position by New Jersey, in the event that Montreal makes Slafkovski the first pick, and not Shane Wright.

Kulich was supposed to miss the first round, but then he impressed with his performances in the extra league for Karlovy Vary and especially at the World U18 Championship, where he netted nine goals, including a hat trick against Canada.

Journalists from the Czech center with a great shot most often “send” to Washington in twentieth place and to Pittsburgh, which they choose right after. But there can be surprises, which is not unusual in the draft. According to an unnamed NHL official Kulich could fly out into the elite ten.

From the Czech-Slovak “package” of talents, the Slovak Slafkovský has the best prospects, who can become the overall number one, although most rankings prophesy the Canadian center Wright to be the first.

However, according to five out of ten scouts asked by TSN, winger Slafkovský is the better choice. Four chose Wright and one American center Logan Cooley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.