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NHL Draft 2020: taking a closer look at Jaromir Pytlik

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A Pitlick and Pytlik line? Bold strategy.

Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds v Windsor Spitfires Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Jaromir Pytlik, a center/wing from the Czech Republic, is an interesting player to look at due to how divisive scouts can be when rating him. He is as high as 31 in some circles, but as low as 80. TSN’s rankings, from Bob McKenzie, have Pytlik ranked as the 74th highest ranked skater, which is perhaps a ranking not befitting of Pytlik’s talent if you’re a fan of his.

Pytlik is a big bodied (6’3”, 200 lbs) forward who plays a power oriented game. While he might not be the most skilled player in the draft, Pytlik’s effectively direct style lends well to point production. He played at all situations last season in the OHL, and the best way I’d describe him is like a physical playmaker. He has skill, but not the flashy skill that higher ranked forwards possess. He can make plays down low when he needs to be scrappy, and usually is in the right place to set up teammates or score for himself.

However, the question remains if Pytlik has enough to truly be able to succeed at the NHL level.

Let’s take a look:

What do the stats say?

Pytlik swapped over to the OHL from the Czech Republic, where he played in youth leagues and even in a handful of Extraliga games. However, from 2018-19, he has played in the OHL with the Soo Greyhounds. This past season, his first fully in the OHL, Pytlik scored 50 points (22 goals) in 56 games, fifth highest on his team.

Those aren’t bad numbers per say, but given his minutes and position within the team, ideally Pytlik would be getting even more secondary assists. That isn’t to say he won’t score at a higher clip eventually, though at the moment it is a concern since he’s playing in a juniors league and not against men.

The Eye Test

I described Pytlik as a physical playmaker in the outset of this article, and to that end, he uses his physicality well defensively. Pytlik is one of the better defensive forwards I’ve seen so far in my draft analysis. He is an incredibly effective penalty killer and consistently interrupts opposing plays.

Offensively, Pytlik has pretty good hands, and when he gets in goal scoring positions, he usually takes full advantage. Since his skating is good but not great, and because he is so direct in his play, Pytlik usually scores by simply putting himself in good areas rather than beating defenders outright. However, his stick-handling is a plus tool that he uses down low to baffle goaltenders when he’s bearing down.

However, Corey Pronman called Pytlik’s game “basic” when describing his style, and I would tend to agree. You don’t see his hands flash nearly as much as other players or even earlier in Pytlik’s career. NHL coaches may like when players keep things simple, but if he’s doing that at this level, you can definitely question his probability of future success.

Pytlik, like I said, is a good but not great skater, and this means he’ll likely never play center at the NHL level. However, I think he could be a useful asset given his grittiness, finishing ability, and defensive awareness. He could only be a third or fourth liner, but I think he could turn into an underrated asset for an NHL team.

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