Czech hockey is seemingly losing its talent, or at least that's what most recent drafts, except for the 2012 NHL Draft, seem to indicate. Despite that, the Czech Under-18 national team always manages to have a decent or better showing at the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, which is hosted by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This year, the team went far and came home with a bronze medal, beating Sweden and Russia along the way.
The last time a Czech prospect was selected among the top 10 at an NHL Draft was in 2006 when the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Jakub Voráček sixth overall. Since then, the only bigger success for a Czech draft class was a year ago, in 2012, when two forwards, Radek Faksa and Tomáš Hertl, were selected by Dallas and San Jose respectively in the top 20. And, while the 2013 NHL Draft was a huge disappointment for the Czech Republic, this traditional stronghold of hockey is expected to come back.
The Czech Republic had one of its least successful drafts this year in New Jersey, but that doesn't mean the next one won't feature any Czech players that could be picked in the early rounds. Swedish-based offensive marvel Jakub Vrána, who will definitely be considered one of the top European skaters, isn't the only one though. Still playing in his homeland and just about to take a leap into the Czech Extraliga is young defenseman Filip Pyrochta.
With the 2013 NHL Draft now passed, the focus can now turn to the class of 2014. Since Beyond Tomorrow looks at those players eligible for the next draft class, this is the last opportunity to discuss the 2014 draft-eligible players before shifting attention to the 2015's. With that in mind, here is a recap of the best of the late-1995 and 1996-born players.
Adler, a small, rather nameless coastal resort just south of Sochi that is receiving worldwide attention as one of the hosting places of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, recently was packed with hockey scouts, journalists and the top players born in 1995 or later for the IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
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