Top 10 Slovakian prospects

By Andrej Cicman

After a disappointing draft in 2006, in which only four Slovak-born players have been selected, this year’s draft could be a little better. Two players (one of whom played in Slovakia) have the chance to be selected in second round, and there is a lot more depth on the defense than last year.  

1. Milan Kytnar, C
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 183 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-05-19
22th in European rankings
 

Kytnar played in two leagues this season – in the Slovak Junior 1 League and the Slovak Senior 1 League. Unfortunately for him, HC Topolcany Jr. played only in the Slovak second junior League, so he didn’t  have the chance to face players like Marek Daloga, Zdenko Kotvan and other draft eligible Slovak prospects. But on the other hand, he has played 27 games in the second Slovak Senior League and has played very well.  In the U-18 WJC, he was a key player for the Slovaks. In six matches he has collected 7 points for 2 goals and 5 assists and with his solid two-way game he was a very nice surprise. Milan Kytnar is a two-way, creative center who can score goals too. He is not very big (6’0), but he uses his body well. Good in front of the net, but he could stand to be more aggressive. In the future, he could be a little version of Michal Handzus.

2. Juraj Mikus, D
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-4
Weight: 185 lbs
Birthdate: 1988-11-30
27th in European rankings
 

Of all Slovakian draft eligible players, Mikus played the second most games in the Slovak Senior Extraleague. But in those 22 games, he didn’t collect a single point. This does not necessarily mean that he does not have any offensive skill, but with the quality-filled Dukla Trencin roster, it very difficult to find a place in the first two lines. He was later demoted to the senior second league and where he played a more significant role. Mikus is no Andrej Meszaros, but he possess some talent. Mikus has good vision, good movement, but sometimes he loses his control. Skilled defenseman with a good stability.  He is quite tall and needs to add bulk to his frame. He can be a fifth or sixth NHL defenseman, but is a long way from reaching that.

3. Adam Bezak, RW
Shoots: Left
Height: 5-10
Weight: 172 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-07-04
36th in European rankings 

He played only in Slovak junior league this season, because to find a place in Slovan Bratislava senior roster is very difficult not only for junior, but also for more older players. His performance in this year U-18 WJC was a bright spot in Slovak national team. He has collected 4 goals, 5 assists in 6 matches and he was fifth best forward on this tournament. Bezak is a fast skilled forward who can make scoring opportunities and with good positioning. He is not so big (only 5’10), but this disadvantage he can play down with high overall effort and movement. Undoubtedly, Bezak is the best  draft eligible forward coming from Slovak leagues in 2007.
 

4. Zdenko Kotvan, G

Catches: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 196 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-08-12
9th in European goalie rankings 

Kotvan is arguably the best draft-eligible goalie prospect in the Slovak Junior League for 2007. Kotvan had three starts in the Slovak Senior League and in the playoffs, including one start against HC Kosice in which he stopped 52 shots, giving him a lot of self confidence going into next season. Surprisingly, in the U-18 WJC, he was only the backup goaltender for Team Slovakia. Nevertheless he played in 4 games and his performance wasn’t so bad (91.84 GAA and 2.46 SVS%). Kotvan is fairly quick and moves well, but sometimes is not sure when to play the puck out of his crease. He could develop into a Jaroslav Halak type player, but he must work harder to get there. He has the potential to be an NHL backup goaltender.

5. Marek Daloga, D

Shoots: Left
Height: 6-4
Weight: 176 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-03-10
38th in European rankings

Daloga was ranked 107th in Central Scouting’s mid-term ratings, but in the final rankings he jumped up to 38th, showing steady development after a solid performance at the U-18 WJC. Daloga is a tall, good moving defenseman. He is good in the corners, plays a strong defensive game and is adept at staying out of the penalty box. Daloga can be the Slovak dark horse in the 2007 draft and might develop into a reliable stay at home defenseman.

6. Martin Baca, D

Shoots: Left
Height: 6-3
Weight: 201 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-02-02
74th in European rankings

Baca’s performance with Hk Liptovky Mikula’s junior squad earned him a place in the senior team for 23 games in the Slovak Extraleague.  Mostly he played on the third line. He represented Team Slovakia at the U-18 WJC where he learned to play against top competition. Baca is a strong defensive-minded defenseman with good size and mobility.  He plays hard, but sometimes when he faces better competition, Baca sometimes plays undisciplined and over-matched.

7. Tomas Hiadlovsky, G

Catches: Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 167 lbs
Birthdate: 1988-12-15
5th in European goalie rankings  

Played the entire Slovak junior league season and was the only goalkeeper with a goals-against average below 2.00. He also played eight games in the Senior Second league. He has the talent , but he must work on his confidence.

8. Ondrej Rusnak, C

Shoots: Left
Height: 6-3
Weight: 185 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-02-25
52th in European rankings

Played in the Slovak junior league and at the U-18 WJC for Team Slovakia.  Well-built center, tall and heavy defensive-minded center with a reliable style of play. He has good positioning and is tough to move in the corners. Checks well and uses his big body to his advantage. Not much of a goal scorer. He has the potential to be a reliable two-way center.

9. Branislav Horvath, D

Shoots: Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 172 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-07-18
98th in European rankings

Horvath was an important member of his team with the senior second league in Slovakia.  He also was a solid contributor to the U-18 WJC team for Slovakia. His size is a bit of a disadvantage, at only 5’11 and 171 lbs during his draft year, which is relatively undersized for a typical defender. But Horvath plays bigger than his size and can hold his own against larger competition.
 

10. Martin Dulak, D

Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 183 lbs
Birthdate: 1988-09-21
112th in European rankings
 

A Slovak junior champion with HK Spisska Nova Ves. His whole hockey career has been played in his native town where he and his teammates were finally able to bring a championship home this season.  His good defensive play earned him a spot on the senior team in Slovakia. Dulak protects the puck well and has the strength to push forwards out from the front of the net.

Other notables 

Dalimir Jancovic, LW

Height: 6-0
Weight: 169 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-01-28
133th in European rankings
 

14 points in 26 junior team matches, 5 matches in U-18 WJC (1 asisst).

Michal Kozak, D

Height: 6-1
Weight: 187 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-01-27
160th in European rankings
 

18 points in 44 junior squad matches, 4 matches in Slovak senior extraleague, 6 matches in U-18 WJC ( -1 ).

 Matej Misura, LW

Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 189 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-02-16
132th in European rankings 

18 points in 36 junior team matches, 6 matches in U-18 WJC (1 goal, 1 assist).
 

Jozef Molnar, C

Shoots: Right
Height: 5-10
Weight: 182 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-04-08
125th in European rankings 

21 points in 40 junior team matches, 6 matches in U-18 WJC (2 goals).

Tomas Striz, RW

Shoots: Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 174 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-07-04
161th in European rankings 

32 points in 52 junior team matches, 6 matches in U-18 WJC (1 asisst).

Tomas Vyletelka, LW

Shoots: Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 176 lbs
Birthdate: 1989-07-04
136th in European rankings
 

36 points in 50 junior team matches.

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