Listed at 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds (and with room to fill in), the Canucks’ 2015 sixth-round selection has more offensive upside than his lowly draft slot would suggest. In addition to lighting up the top Czech junior league, Jasek suited up in 27 games for HC Trinec in the Czech Elite League as a very young 17-year old – a testament to his mature skill set and a fact that bodes extremely well for his odds of developing into a bona fide NHL player.
Though Jasek is an intriguing prospect, there are reasons why the Czech standout lasted well into the second day of the draft. Low-risk and carrying the potential for immense reward, Jasek is ranked 15th on our list.
Jasek is a CanucksArmy favourite because of his promising counting stats and the fact that he’s generally ‘played up’ through his later teenage years, but before we get too much further into that, let’s temper our PCS-based optimism with the more critical and polarizing beliefs within the wider hockey industry.
Not only did Jasek last until the sixth-round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft despite being ranked by some scouts – like ESPN’s Corey Pronman – as a third-round caliber talent, but had ranked as a third-round quality talent, was recently a puzzling snub by the Czech national team (though Jasek eventually was included at the U20 camp as a replacement player).
The persistent snubs and what they rather softly imply combine with the generic ‘all 17-year-old hockey prospects drafted outside the top pick or two are a just lottery tickets at this point anyways’ qualifiers and make up the bulk of our ‘red flags’ section of this profile. Because there’s a lot to like here, particularly for a sixth-round pick.
As I’ve already outlined, his inclusion on the HC Trinac team of the Czech Elite Leauge as a very young forward bodes well for his likelihood to develop into an NHLer – it also makes him a PCS favourite. While his production among adults isn’t overly inspiring (a meagre 2 assists in 27 games), that he skated among them at all is impressive. HC Trinec was a dominant team in the Czech league and they made it as far to the finals in their playoffs.
Generally speaking players who compare with Jasek – in terms of stature and level of production in their age-17 season – have become NHL regulars, and pretty good NHL regulars at that, almost one third of the time.
(small sample warnings abound, which is again encouraging, because it shows what Jasek did is quite rare. Hat-tip to MoneyPuck for the graph and input)
Though Jasek struggled to produce as a small fish in a big pond, his production among peers in his age group was exceptional. He was over a point-per-game player in the Czech U20 league as a 17-year-old and his international production is similarly encouraging. Jasek was an absolute monster for the Czechs in the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, potting 7 points in 5 games and similarly productive in International Jr. play (although he didn’t record a single point at the U18 World Junior tournament last winter, which offsets some of this and likely played a role in his declining draft stock in the lead up to the draft).
Though there’s a lot to like about Jasek’s game and his chances of becoming an NHL player, there remains a high degree of probability that he won’t ever develop into an impact NHL player. The repeated snubs from management teams these last few months raises red flags and as is often the case for players his age, Jasek will definitely need to get stronger to develop the necessary physical package to be a bona fide NHL forward.
Based on what we know at the moment though, Jasek seems like a very wise bet by the Canucks as a sixth-round draft selection. There’s legitimate reasons to dream on Jasek as the sort of player that could significantly outperform his late draft slot. Who knows, this might even be the first great steal from the Jim Benning era of drafting in Vancouver. That is what he was brought in for, after all.