This week’s subject on Prospect Watch is Czech defenseman Stanislav Svozil, who is currently playing important minutes for the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters in his first professional season.
After a productive Western Hockey League career, Stanislav Svozil turned pro at the end of last season. He immediately joined a shorthanded Blue Jackets team for their final two regular season games, and he was a standout player right away. He played 19:13 in his first NHL game and added an assist on the game-winning goal as the Jackets downed the Pittsburgh Penguins. The very next night, he played 21:01 in the season finale.
Svozil was sent to Cleveland for their final game just one day later, where he registered 2 assists in his AHL debut. He’s started this season off in much the same way – through 12 games with the Monsters, he has 1 goal and 6 assists (7 points); good enough for the team lead in scoring by all rookies. Which is really encouraging, because the Monsters have some pretty good rookies this season.
Originally picked by the Blue Jackets in the third round (pick #69) at the 2021 NHL Draft, Svozil was a wildly productive player in the WHL. In 115 career games, he scored 21 goals and 119 points; highlighted by his 11 goal, 78 point campaign last year, with only 56 games played. He’s also starred for Czechia on the international stage, playing for their World Junior Championship tournament team for three consecutive seasons – including serving as their captain last year.
Though he doesn’t have a big frame, Svozil is an aggressive, physical player who is active on both sides of the puck. Offensively, he uses his skating and timing well to jump into the rush, where he has the hands and playmaking abilities of a skilled forward. He also brings a big shot to the table, with strong deception and good offensive hockey IQ. Defensively, he still needs some polishing. He loves to throw the occasional big hit, which keeps opposing forwards honest when he’s on the ice – but this trait can also leave him out of the play. As soon as he weeds out the odd glaring mistake, such as a missed check, or an odd decision with the puck: he’ll be NHL ready, in my opinion.
He’ll spend this season with the Monsters, but I do think there’s a chance he competes for a job with the Blue Jackets as early as next fall. For now, he should continue to play big minutes down there, hopefully at the same productive pace he’s shown early on. Stanislav is a big rising asset within the system, and I think at full potential, he’ll be a top-four fixture in the NHL. Not bad at all for a third round pick.