Needing to continue strengthening their prospect system, it was crucial for the Detroit Red Wings to enjoy a very successful 2020 NHL Entry Draft, which saw them select 12 different players. Adding to the team’s impressive depth of young goaltenders, general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff selected goalie Jan Bednar from HC Energie Karlovy Vary with their second of two picks in the fourth round.
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Born and raised in the Czech Republic, Bednar has spent the last two seasons with the Karlovy Vary and is expected to suit up for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, if the QMJHL is able to return to action this fall. Though he hasn’t played in an actual game in several months, the 18-year old was able to work on his craft over the summer, including his quickness, hand control, and his ability to handle rebounds.
“On the ice I work on my active hands, rebound control, and off the ice I work on my speed and my agility,” Bednar explained. “So this is most important for me, I’m a big goalie and I need speed and I need agility, and I work on that in [the] summer. So I think will be good prepared for this season.”
Based on his 6-foot-4 frame, and that’s without being on skates, most experts wouldn’t expect the towering netminder to possess such strong athleticism, but that’s one of the strongest aspects of his game. In addition, the left-handed catching goaltender admits he’s able to remain extremely calm between the pipes and enjoys leaving his crease to play the puck when those opportunities present themselves.
“I think I’m really calm goalie, I like puck handling – so play with the puck,” Bednar discussed. “I’m a big goalie and I like big goalies, and I think I’m a little athletic. But [the] most important thing for me [is] I need speed and I just think I’m so calm in the net.”
Over his 13 games played in 2019-20, Bednar made 395 saves, producing a 4.39 goals-against average, .883 save percentage, one shutout, along with one assist. Though the youngster endured a rollercoaster campaign this past season, he performed much more effectively over his 10 starts in 2018-19, as he recorded a 2.73 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Looking up to his fellow countryman growing up, the fourth-round selection really enjoyed watching Dominik Hašek when he was younger, especially when the six-time All-Star won a pair of Stanley Cups (2002 and 2008) with the Red Wings. While the athletic goaltender admires several current NHL netminders, goalies Connor Hellebuyck, Braden Holtby, Henrik Lundqvist, and Mike Smith have caught his attention over the past few seasons.
“I think Connor Hellebuyck, he’s a great goalie,” Bednar mentioned. “But there are many goalies I like in the NHL for example Braden Holtby, Henrik Lundqvist, Connor Hellebuyck, or Mike Smith. I like Jimmy Howard and more.”