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Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25: David Kase takes the No. 22 spot

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The small Czech forward fell much farther than most expected him to in last June's draft, and the Flyers might be able to take advantage of that slide if Kase can continue to develop his exciting skillset.

that's him there getting engulfed by a large Danish person
that's him there getting engulfed by a large Danish person
Claus Andersen / Getty Images

David Kase

Position: Forward (Center)
Birthdate: January 28, 1997 (18)
Acquired Via: 2015 NHL Draft - Round 5, Pick 128
2014-15 Team/League: Pirati Chomutov, Czech-2 - 7 G, 7 A in 30 GP
Nationality: Czech Republic (Kadan)
Size: 5'10", 159
Contract Status: None
Ranking in August 2014 25 Under 25: N/A

In the two drafts that have taken place during the reign of Ron Hextall, General Manager, there's been an intriguing inclination -- more of one than there appears to have been in previous years, at least -- towards players who are a bit smaller than the average professional hockey player tends to be. This is particularly so up front, where we've seen top-50 draft picks used on the likes of 5-foot-10 Travis Konecny and Nicolas Aube-Kubel (both of whom will show up later on in this countdown) and later picks used on 6-foot types such as Radel Fazleev and Cooper Marody (who came up in this very space yesterday).

It's unlikely that the Flyers are necessarily going out there with the clear intent of getting smaller players to stock up their forward ranks. But it does seem clear -- and this shouldn't be a surprise after watching Chicago and Tampa Bay, two teams on the smaller end, square off in the Stanley Cup Final this past year -- that this regime is interested, above all else, in getting talented hockey players who have shown that can play the game well in all facets, whether those guys are 6-foot-4 or 5-foot-9.

Which brings us to this past June's fifth-round draft pick, David Kase, who also falls on the shorter end of that spectrum. Kase is listed on NHL dot com as being 5-foot-10 and 159 pounds. Other sites will have him anywhere between 5'9" and 5'11", but the point is that he's a pretty small guy. And his raw scoring numbers -- seven points and seven assists in 30 games in the second-tier Czech league last season -- don't scream high-end prospect.

Yet it's clear that he's got the skill to become one of the more exciting forward prospects in the organization. What he lacks in stature, he makes up for in most other hockey attributes -- from his skating to his vision to his overall hockey smarts, he's shown flashes that led a lot of folks to think he was going to go well before the 128th pick last June.

He's got a history of representing the Czech Republic well in international competition, too -- and ESPN's Corey Pronman (who had Kase ranked as his 30th overall skater heading into the draft) mentioned that his play on the international stage has routinely been excellent. He played for the Czech under-18 team in both his age-17 and age-18 year, and he even made the under-20 team this past winter as a double-underager and will almost certainly make that squad again next year. (In fact, he's been spending this week playing for the Czech team in World Junior camp.)

Below is a video of his highlights from this past spring's under-18 World Junior Championships, in which he was the captain of the Czech team and put up five points in four games. I would strongly advise against taking a sip of any sort of liquid right before the 1:25 mark unless you want it to end up on your computer/mobile device screen.

You can see how the Flyers ended up, per an interview at McKeen's with team scout Todd Hearty, predicting that "someone's going to take him in the second [round]", or how he ended up as the 30th-ranked skater on Pronman's big board, or how he was named the 11th-ranked European skater on Central Scouting's rankings. By all accounts, it looks like the Flyers may have got a steal on this one.

Kase will likely play in the top Czech league this season, and there's no obvious timetable as to when he may make the leap across the ocean to North America (if, of course, he ever even develops to that point). But he's already one of the team's most interesting forward prospects beyond the top tier, and if he's able to take a next step this season, he may find himself even higher on these rankings by this time next year.

How we voted for David Kase:

Al Allison Andrew Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Mary Meseret Ryan Travis
N/A N/A 17 22 18 N/A 18 19 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Who we voted for at No. 22:

Al Allison Andrew Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Mary Meseret Ryan Travis
Matej Tomek Jesper Pettersson Tyrell Goulbourne David Kase Matej Tomek Jesper Pettersson Danick Martel Matej Tomek Brandon Alderson Mark Friedman Matej Tomek Christian Marti