Three players to watch for Team Slovakia at the 2021 WJC
Samuel Hlavaj, G: His numbers in this tournament last year (5.37, .851 SV%) didn’t jive with the numbers he put up with with Sherbrooke (2.25, .915), the CHL’s top team from a year ago. Named the QMJHL’s top defensive rookie, Hlavaj possessed the league’s best GAA (2.25) while being named a second team all-star. Some of his failures last year had to do with a weaker Slovakian team, but Hlavaj did not look his confident self. At his best, he’s extremely athletic, patient and competitive. He plays the puck well and that may be something we see more of in this event.
Martin Chromiak, RW: He came over from Slovakia to join the Kingston Frontenacs after last year’s tournament and was immediately put on a line with Shane Wright and Zayde Wisdom. It wasn’t long before the trio became one of the best in the OHL, if not the CHL. Chromiak used excellent skating ability and edge work and combined that with creativity to put up 11 goals and 33 points in 28 games. While many, myself included, thought he was a lock to go in the top two rounds, he slid all the way to Round 5, where he was picked up by the L.A. Kings. He will need to show an ability to play inside the dots as he progresses towards an NHL career.
David Mudrak, D: The 6-foot-1, 185-pound right shot defenceman is back for his second and final tournament. Last year, he lead all Slovak blueliners in ice time (18:43/game). His 15 shots lead the team, while he had three assists in five games. Upon completion of the WJC, he is expected to suit up for the Oshawa Generals.