When you are a small-ish defender from another country, it isn’t hard to be looked over (no pun intended). You have to put up some pretty gaudy numbers to really make an impact. Filip Hronek in the Czech Junior league, did just that as he scored above a point per game for his junior team. It was enough to get a call up to a men’s league in the Czech Republic. While his name has plenty of question marks, will a team be risky enough to make him a first round selection?
Hronek is the eighth ranked European skater according to the NHL CS rankings.
As I discussed above, Hronek had himself a good time in the Czech Junior league as an eighteen year old defenseman. Regardless of league quality, it is always good to see someone dominate against their peers. In the WJC, Hronek didn’t have nearly as good of a time as he only had two points in five games. Interestingly, he was drafted this year in the second round of the KHL draft, his future may be a bit uncertain. Unsure of where his developmental path might take him, some teams may shy away.
The Eye Test
Bill Placzek of the Draft Site had this to say about the Czech defender:
“Czech defender who displayed terrific puck moving skills and instincts. runs the PP and reads and dishes well. Not big but plays well in all phases unnoticed. Plays aggressive and doesn’t really panic under pressure. Positionally solid in all three zones. Has good vision and sees his outlet options and hits them. Likes to carry with good feet and isn’t afraid of the rough going. Not six foopt but an interesting prospect who will needs more weight room to get stronger in body and stride.”
The SB Nation site, Die by the Blade, had this to say about Hronek via a fanpost:
“Smallish PP QB (5’11 170#) who is playing limited minutes in the CZE senior league, but has been very good if not their best defender in more age-friendly international tournaments (U-18s, 4 and 5 Nations, etc). Slick puck handler, rarely makes a bad play.”
Does he fit with the Red Wings?
As more of a project, he won’t be selected in the first round by any teams. He could see a selection as early as the second. He has attributes that you look for in a modern defender. The selection process could turn into a game of chicken, you don’t want to be the team reaching for a player you aren’t sure about. A project type of player, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was selected by the Red Wings in the second round.