The Olympiques franchise has had plenty of success drafting out of the Czech Republic in the CHL Import Draft in the past. Three of the best players to play for the franchise in the last decade were Czech-born imports: Pavel Rosa, Jiri Fischer and Ales Hemsky. While Rosa may have accomplished the most as a junior player, Fischer and Hemsky were both first round picks and have gone on to establish themselves as everyday players with upside. When the Olympiques selected Pohl fourth overall in the Import Draft, the hope was that they would strike gold again. At this point, Pohl has shown neither the NHL upside that Hemsky demonstrated in his draft year, nor the pure junior scoring skill that Rosa utilized to score 152 points in the 1996-97 season. His first season in North America started out well, but Pohl quickly faded. He did have a solid showing at the 2004 Top Prospects Game in Toronto, though, which could help him on draft day. Pohl was not in the line-up for some of the team’s playoff run, and when he was, he was a non-factor.
Drafted 5th round (133rd overall), 2004 by Columbus.
2007-08: Pohl played most of the season with the Youngstown Steelhounds of the CHL. He was named to the league’s All-Star game, and was one of their best players all year. He finished off the season playing with Dayton in the ECHL. Pohl improved offensively from his first professional season, and showed good promise as a scorer. He must continue to produce offensively when given his chance to move up.
Generously listed at 5’11 and most likely not truly 185 pounds, Pohl is small and is anything but strong on the puck. He can be pushed off the puck without too much problem, lacking the necessary strength to fight off or through checks. As a result, Pohl relies on shiftiness and quickness to put up points. His hands are soft, and he possesses fantastic patience around the net. Not only is Pohl a capable stickhandler, but his shot is impressive. Perhaps most importantly, he has a quick release that he can get off from just about anywhere. All the offensive tools are there: the hands, the shot, the skating ability and the patience to utilize these skills properly. Unfortunately, Pohl often lacks confidence and in this instance, can be dominated physically without much trouble. His defensive game is hardly refined, but Olympiques coach Benoit Groulx should continue to help him along in that respect. Pohl may not have a big frame, so he will always be on the small side, but if he were to bulk up and assert himself physically more, he could be a much more effective player. Petr Vrana and Petr Kanko are two examples of Czech-born imports playing in the CHL, who despite a lack of height or considerable bulk, have toughened up playing in North America for junior hockey, and their games have benefited as a result.