This week’s Prospect Watch has us catching up with Stanislav Svozil, who is flying under the radar a little bit within the CBJ system. Svozil is in his second season of junior hockey, playing with the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats.
Svozil was ranked as a potential late first rounder at the 2021 NHL Draft by some services, but seemed most likely to be taken in the early second round. However due to a quiet draft season, he was passed over and wound up being selected by the Blue Jackets in the third round (pick #69 overall).
His stock at the draft falling isn’t entirely surprising. The COVID pandemic threw a wrench into everyone’s ability to play consistently – and made scouting extremely difficult. In his draft year, Svozil scored just one goal and three points in 30 games with HC Kometa Brno (CZE). Still, the Jackets saw the potential here and took a shot on him in the third round. So far, it’s looking pretty good (#11):
Last year, Svozil had a solid first season in North America. Playing for an offensively potent Regina Pats team, he scored 10 goals and 41 points in 59 games. He was also a standout player for Czechia at the World Junior Championships, scoring 1 goal and 3 points in 6 games – to go with a whopping 29 minutes in penalties.
This year, he’s more than picked up where he left off. Through 25 games, Svozil has 4 goals and sits second in the entire WHL (amongst all skaters) with 30 assists. The only player ahead of him in that category is his teammate, elite prospect Connor Bedard. He’s a big part of the offense for the Pats, which is encouraging because it’s proving that he can play with highly talented players.
Svozil is a good puck mover, loves to join the rush, and has the ability to throw in the occasional highlight reel play. He has excellent vision and flings passes around like a highly skilled forward – but he also loves the physical game and will step up and throw a big hit every once in awhile. He’s solid defensively, especially when he keeps his gaps close and moves his feet, but he is prone to the occasional glaring mistake that will leave you scratching your head.
Look for Svozil to star with team Czechia at the World Junior Championships beginning later this month. He’s a standout player that you notice on almost every shift. The key for Stanislav is tipping the scales by offering more good than bad – which he’s been doing pretty well at this year.
Svozil is already signed to an entry level contract by the Blue Jackets, and should be joining the Cleveland Monsters as soon as his junior season is up. This is one player that will benefit hugely from 1-2 years in the AHL, as he adjusts to the size and quicker pace of pro hockey. In time and with proper development, I firmly believe that he has middle defense pairing upside as an NHL player.