Friday, June 24, 2011

Jaškin and Musil lead list of Czech draft hopefuls

This weekend, the NHL stages its annual Entry Draft. It is the time when the top hockey prospects 18 years of age or older from around the world hold their collective breaths and find out who, if anybody, will hold their NHL rights.

Dmitrij Jaškin. Photo:
Czechs have had some success in the draft before, most notably 1992 and 1999, when Roman Hamrlík and Patrik Štefan were taken first overall, respectively, by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers. In 2011, when the Edmonton Oilers make their first selection, it won't be a Czech name, barring a miracle. However, there are two Czech players, Dmitrij Jaškin and David Musil, that are expected to be taken in the first two rounds, which would be an improvement over recent years. Jaškin is a right winger who currently plays for Slavia Praha in the Czech Extraliga and Musil is a defenceman who currently plays for the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants. Both players have taken interesting paths to get to this point in their careers, which is explored in greater detail here.

David Musil. Photo: Gerry Kahrmann,
The NHL divides its draft-eligible prospects into skaters and goaltenders, and further into players on North American clubs and those playing in Europe, with Musil and Jaškin easily leading all Czechs on those lists. In 2010, only five Czechs were drafted and none of them played domestically. This was a particularly embarrassing total for a country that, at one time, was one of the top producers of top hockey players in the world. As recently as 2001, 31 Czechs were drafted, with 21 of them coming from domestic clubs. This downward trend is examined here.

While the 2011 crop of Czechs won't approach 2001 numbers, it is reasonably safe to say there won't be another shutout of domestic players, as many forecasters have predicted that Jaškin will be taken late in the first round. Daniel Přibyl of Sparta Praha, who was taken by Cherepovets in last month's KHL draft, is pegged to go somewhere in the middle rounds, with Mladá Boleslav's Tomáš Hyka being seen as a possible late-round pick.

Below are the European-based, draft-eligible Czechs, according to their rankings. Of the listed players, only Jaškin and Plzeň's Jakub Jeřábek played full-time in the Extraliga in 2010-11.

  5. Dmitrij Jaškin       right wing   Slavia Praha
 46. Daniel Přibyl        centre       Sparta Praha
 47. Tomáš Hyka          
right wing   Mladá Boleslav
 56. Štěpán Jeník        
defence      Slavia Praha
 57. Lukáš Sedlák         centre       České Budějovice
 77. Jakub Jeřábek       
defence      Plzeň
 79. Lukáš Králík        
centre       Olomouc
 86. Tomáš Pavelka       
defence      Vítkovice
 88. Václav Tomek        
right wing   Slavia Praha
 95. Petr Holík          
centre       Zlín
 96. Adam Řehák          
right wing   Vítkovice
100. Michael Švihálek     left wing    České Budějovice
101. Dušan Žovinec       
defence      Sparta Praha
125. Vojtěch Zadražil    
defence      Jihlava
129. Tomáš Rousek         útočník      České Budějovice

Of the Czech players in North America, Musil is currently projected to be taken somewhere in the second round. Matěj Stránský could also be a mid-round pick, while Dominik Uher and Bohumil Jank could be taken late.

 38. David Musil         defence       Vancouver (WHL)
136. Matěj Stránský      right wing    Saskatoon (WHL)
162. Dominik Uher        centre        Spokane (WHL)
181. Bohumil Jank        defence       Victoriaville (QMJHL)

The International Scouting Services ranks goaltenders separately. Among European goalkeepers, Jarolsav Pavelka is ranked third, and has an outside chance at being drafted. He played last season at the starší dorost level, and was impressive at the Five Nations Tournament in his hometown of Hradec Králové. In Dresden at the U18 World Championships, Pavelka backed up Matěj Machovský, who is ranked 10th among eligible netminders in North America.

Ranked Czech goaltenders in Europe:

 3. Jaroslav Pavelka      Hradec Králové
10. Marek Mazanec         Plzeň

Ranked Czech goaltenders in North America:

11. Matěj Machovský      Brampton (OHL)
13. David Honzík         Victoriaville (QMJHL)
15. Tadeáš Galanský      Saginaw (OHL)

Rankings were compiled by International Scouting Services, and were acquired via,, and

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