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Jan Mysak: 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Putting the ‘Czech’ in Forecheck

Jan Mysak is a center, but plays like a Coleman-style winger. His shot is more potent than his pass, and he’s a PKing forechecker that finishes the breakawys.

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Who is Jan Mysak?

Jan Mysak is a 6’0’’ 180lbs center who, this year, transfered from the top Czech leage over to the OHL where he immediately produced at a point-per-game pace for the Hamilton Bulldogs. He’s also a late-June birthday which makes him one of the youngest top prospects for this draft class. This is his prospect career via EliteProspects.

In the past two years as a prospect, he ran roughshod over the U19 league as a 16-year-old, then made the top Czech league as a 17-year-old because moving over to the OHL and putting up a 15 goals and 10 assist sin 22 games. The good interpretation of that line is that he was adjusting to a new environment and still put up over a point per game on a league-average scoring team. The down side is that he had 9 points in 26 games after 7 points in 31 games despite being a full year older/stronger/faster/smarter and that forced him to move to another league where he centered one of the most electric players in the league — Kings prospect, Arthur Kaliyev. According to Pick224, Mysak actually has a negative EV GF%Rel whereas Jenik — the guy he replaced — had the 2nd highest in the entire league.

So where does a guy with this level of production rank in terms of likelihood of success?

Byron Bader of Hockey Prospecting has him at a 52% chance of becoming an NHLer. That is a tied with a group of about 15 other skaters for the 35th-50th most likely NHLers among 2020-eligible prospects. He does compare favorably to some charitable names here like Eller, Compher, and Kuzy, but overall the confidence in him as a prospect doesn’t compare well to the top-tier guys.

Where is Jan Mysak Ranked?

#13 - Hockey Prospect (January)

#15 - Future Considerations (March)

#25 - ISS Hockey (March)

#28 - Elite Prospects (February)

#20 - The Athletic (Wheeler) (February)

#28 - Sportsnet (March)

The prospect consensus around Mysak is that he belongs in the 2nd half of the first round. This is your daily reminder that the Devils have somewhere between 1 and 3 first round picks depending on how conditions are reslolved in the wake of the COVID-19 play stoppage.

What Others Have Said About Jan Mysak

This was Wheeler’s entire write-up on him in his rankings piece.

After strong age-adjusted numbers at every level he’s played at in the Czech Republic, Mysak has adjusted quickly to the OHL. Mysak came and went at the world juniors but he didn’t look afraid of the stage for his age from the very first shift. He hunts pucks and can spin off checks, he’s got a dangerous release in transition that he can get off mid-stride, he backchecks well and he’s got touch with the puck at full speed, which helps him go outside-in on defenders. He’s more of a scorer than a playmaker and that can be a bit of a red flag for me but with the right linemates, he could have real success in a second-line role. He’s also got a late-June birthday, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he begins to take off into next fall and beyond.

His better-than-average-for-a-center shot and unremarkable playmaking are generally consensus assessments. But, you’ll also see some talk about is off-the-puck play specifically his effectiveness as a forechecking penalty-killer. Placzek elaborates here:

A two way energy winger who is always hunting pucks. Strong on the forecheck and sees some time on the penalty kill. Applies neutral zone pressure to puck carriers. On offense he looks for the soft open areas to get loose. Has become a good two way player who hunts down pucks and smartly fills lanes on the attack. Has added work on the penalty-kill to his resume. Improving hsi two way effort, he looks to get his name called fairly ealry at the draft. Needs more strength;can be pushed off the puck.

His complete game is warrants a little more complex analysis, though. Remember at the top of the piece I mentioned his negative goal impact. How do we square that with these reports. A more nuanced take is that his even-strength 200-ft game is imperfect, but he’s an aggressive fore-checker and that skill has allowed him to play a ton as a very modern-style power-killer on the PK. Kournianos talks about both here:

His transition to North America and the goal-friendly OHL has started out as expected — he scored four goals in five games (two shorthanded). Seeing top-six minutes while killing penalties and manning the point on the power play lend to his versatility, but make no mistake; Mysak can be an excitable and dynamic scorer with outstanding patience near the net...Defensively, Mysak is a smart forechecker who tracks puck direction and positions his stick properly once he pivots into a backward skate. His quick feet and stick work in concert when applying pressure which leads to multiple takeaways. Mysak is not very physical in terms of digging in for a tough board battle or throwing his weight around, but he also has resilience to take a beating yet still keep his head on a swivel and recover quickly to attack the puck.

A Little Video

This was the best highlight package out there I could find.

At 0:10, 0:29, 0:47, and 1:55 you can see him beat his man around the corner. At 0:59 you get both an indication of his forechecking and opportunism. Reminds me a little of Coleman with his combination of aggression and finishing talent.

My Take

Since he reminds me of Coleman, I have taken a kind of liking to him. But for every one of these types of prospects that turns into Pickles, you get 3 that don’t. I see a center that isn’t a good passer and PKs, but isn’t strong as a 200-ft even-strength player. He’s not a great skill in any one area. That doesn’t mean he won’t make it to the NHL, but I think Baders 50/50 assessment of things is about right. I wouldn’t look at him until the end of the 1st round or even the beginning of the 2nd — 20th-40th range.

Your Take

Now that you have read up on him, what do you think about Jan Mysak? Where would you take him? Do you like him as a modern PKer and Coleman prototype and that versatility puts him safely as a first-rounder? Or do you think he’s not special at any one thing and we should let him fall out of our first 1-3 picks?