We’ve made it out of the top-3 on the draft board, and we’ve finally got a defenseman entering the mix. Simon Nemec is an exciting, well-rounded prospect, and he’s coming off about as solid of a season as you could draw up. Not only did he have quite a successful season playing in the top league in Slovakia, but he also represented his country in the U18s, World Juniors, Olympics, and now the men’s World Championship.
How’s that for earning your frequent flyer miles? Anyway...
BSH 2022 Community Draft Board, No. 4: Simon Nemec
Team: HK Nitra (Slovakia)
Statistics: 1 G, 25 A in 39 GP
No. 3 (EU skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 9 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
No. 2 by Dobber Prospects (April)
No. 3 by Wheeler/The Athletic (midseason)
What’s there to like?
As we mentioned in the introduction, one of the first phrases that comes up when describing Nemec is well-rounded. From the stat line that we dropped earlier, we can see there’s certainly some offensive upside to his game, and while he doesn’t have the kind of gamebreaking offensive game that leads us to project him putting up huge numbers in the NHL, he’s got some offense in the toolkit, and he can certainly still contribute a good bit.
He’s shown a great aptitude for distributing the puck from the point both at even strength and on the power play, as he’s able to see through traffic well and hit seams cleanly and with ease. He’s also very mobile, with good speed and even better cuts and agility, making him quite elusive. That agility and strong first pass also make him a real threat in transition—he can execute a quick feed to a teammate to get a breakout started, but has the skill and willingness to carry the puck out and kick start it himself.
We’ve seen him relied upon heavily to hold his own and take tough assignments in his own zone, and that’s something he’s thrived in at every level. His vision and reads keep him from getting exposed one-on-one more often than not. His quickness and aggressiveness on the forecheck are also a real asset to him in-zone. He’s got a good stick and gaps up well, and while he isn’t the most physically imposing of players, he doesn't shy away from bringing a bit of physicality when the moment calls for it.
And, of course, not to be overlooked it the fact that Nemec is one of the closer to NHL ready prospects in the top of this draft. He still has some developing and physical maturing to do, but he’s been playing big minutes against men for the last two seasons. And while the competition isn’t to the same level as he would be facing in the SHL or Liiga, for example, that’s still valuable experience playing against grown men, and that’s something.
What’s not to like?
There really aren’t any massive holes in Nemec’s game, and that’s a pretty exciting position to be in already. There are a couple smaller areas that some pundits have pointed to in his game that either need work or might give some pause.
For one, some of his decision making with the puck needs a bit of cleaning up, sometimes the confidence can bring him into a bit of trouble, but he’s still trying to do good and interesting things. Also, and even smaller of quibbles, he's not overly physical and at 6’1” and 192 pounds, he isn’t as imposing as some might like in their number one defenseman, so that brings his upside into question for them.
Is that something you’re particularly fussed by? That’s for you to decide. But these are mostly of stylistic preferences and don’t really change the fact that Nemec is a very good
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
As we’re staring down the Flyers’ roster heading into next season, it looks like the Flyers are more or less set on the right side of their defense corps, particularly in the top four. But that, of course, doesn’t mean that if he does fall to them, the Flyers should pass on drafting him. Beyond Ronnie Attard, the Flyers are thin at the right handed defenseman position in their pipeline, and even thinner at right handed defensemen who could be real, legitimate impact players in the NHL. So even if the need for a play of ilk isn’t very immediately present, he does still address a weaker point in their pipeline, and for that reason, he’d be a great addition.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
Here is where this question starts to get interesting, as the rankings start to open up and player positions start to vary more. If everything pans out like, for example, Bob McKenzie has suggested in his rankings, Nemec would very much be on the board when it comes time for the Flyers to pick. But, that said, the consensus is more or less that he’ll be taken before we get to the Flyers at fifth. He might well be in play for them, but we’re not holding our breath about it.
We’ll make one addition to the poll:
Brad Lambert —C/RW JYP and Pelicans (Liiga)— 2 G, 6 P in 24 GP (JYP) and 2 G, 4 P in 25 GP (Pelicans)
One of the top prospects in this age group for years, Lambert struggled out of the gate this season due to a combination of injury, illness, his own play, and the struggles of his team. Then, in search of a reset after flashing his skill (briefly) at the world juniors, he left JYP, his team of the last two seasons, to return to the Pelicans, the team he was brought up in. And while the counting stats still haven’t come, I’ve liked what I’ve seen of him there and he has been snakebitten all year (his shooting percentage, which has sat between 3-5 percent all year, is not reflective of the chances he has created). When Lambert is feeling himself, he’s fearless with the puck, makes a ton of plays in control, looks to dictate in possession, and has both the hands and the skating to create. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Who should be no. 6 on the 2022 BSH Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed
2022 BSH Community Draft Board
1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston (OHL)
2. Juraj Slafkovský — LW, TPS (Liiga)
3. Logan Cooley — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
4. Simon Nemec — D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)