An impressive crop of centres highlight the top of the draft board in Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Strome, and Mitch Marner, but the talent certainly doesn’t thin out as we take a look further down the rankings.
Charlottetown Islanders centre Filip Chlapik has size and skill that could make him look like a mid-first-round steal a few years down the road.
Here’s what you need to know about the Czech sniper.
Age on June 26: 18
Weight: 183 pounds
From: Praha, Czech Republic
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America): 18th
Marek’s Take: Plays a great 200-foot game and really thinks the game well. Is a strong, supportive centerman who has great vision on the ice. Does need to get quicker and work on explosiveness. Problem is his first step is a long, slow, methodical stride not quick and choppy. Only started lifting weights last season (his dad wanted him to learn the game first before getting bigger) so his strength will improve. Comparable: Best one is probably David Krejci. In fact if you saw Krejci playing junior in Gatineau you’d swear these two were the same player.
He’s coming off a record-setting season with the Islanders…
Chlapik set Charlottetown Islanders franchise records in rookie goals (33) and points (75) in his first turn on North American ice. He finished third among QMJHL rookies in scoring, thanks to a great start that saw him notch his first goal in game No. 2 and kick off a five-game point streak.
About that skating…
If there’s a knock on Chlapik’s game it’s his skating. Speed is not a big part of his game, which is something Islanders general manager Grant Sonier sees as misleading in terms of his true ability.
“For me, he’s a very deceiving skater and he’s also a very good puck protector, and that’s part of skating, balance” the GM has said. “His potential to grow is very high.”
He’s got personality…
Chlapik has a reputation for being a jokester. Whether that bumps him up or down the board when it comes time to sit down with NHL executives remains to be seen.
“Sometimes goofiness can be read the wrong way, and it would be if he wasn’t a high competitor. Because he competes on the ice, his teammates have accepted him for who he is,” says Sonier.
A depth centre with skill…
Chlapik is projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first-round. Let’s say the Edmonton Oilers eschew taking another forward with the 16th overall pick (from Pittsburgh), then that leaves the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings as potential landing spots.