We’ve had a few players on our draft list that we’ve rated substantially higher than the field. Czech forward Filip Chytil is one of those players, and he might be my personal favourite. Apart from the fact that he plays in the Czech Republic and is very young (one of the youngest members of the draft class in fact), there aren’t member legitimate reasons that Chytil has been rated so low on average. He’s got good size, good speed, good hands, good international results, and he spent the entire season in professional hockey despite the fact that he won’t turn 18 until the fall.
Today we’ll dig deeper into this prospect and try to get a sense on the industry’s perception of him and his projection for the future. I’ve convinced my co-writers that he could be a diamond in the rough, and perhaps I can do the same of you. Filip Chytil checks in at 24th on our list, firmly in our first round.
- Age: 17 – September 5th, 1999
- Birthplace: CZE
- Frame: 6’2″ / 192 lbs
- Position: Left Wing/Centre
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: HC Zlin
- Accomplishments/Awards: CSSHL Champion (14/15)
Cohort Based (pGPS)
Chytil is a speedy player with good hockey sense and offensive skill. He is a very good skater, with very quick feet and balance on his edges that allows him to generate good power from every stride and high-end acceleration in his first few steps. He uses his speed well to carry the puck up ice, into the offensive zone, stopping up along the outside and setting up for some offensive zone time. His vision of the ice helps him to quickly find open lanes to go through with the puck and once moving he is hard to contain when he finds space. Has decent puck skills, although nothing too electrifying, and is able to receive and dish passes at full speed without breaking stride. He is stronger than his size would indicate, hard to knock off the puck showing tremendous puck protection, goes into dirty areas and wins most of his puck battles alongside the board. He can pull the trigger with a heavy and accurate wrist shot that is dangerous anywhere from the circles on in. He is also very active on the forechecking and his long reach helps him to steal the puck from his opponents and create even more quality scoring chances. He is very sneaky. It is not uncommon to see him work deep in both zones and even throw a hit or two, as he wants to make his presence felt. A guy you will need to have patience with as he takes a few seasons to add strength, but he could be well worth it.
From McKeen’s Hockey (Excerpt only – full article behind pay wall):
One of the younger prospects available in the 2017 draft (10 days from being a 2018 eligible), Chytil is one of the more under-the-radar dynamic talents available. He spent the majority of his regular season with Zlin, in the Czech Extraliga, playing against grown men. Although Chytil is still lean, he has a solid frame, suggesting added strength in a few short years. Although his game is still justifiably raw, he displays the entire toolkit on the ice, rating as above average as a skater, shooter, puck handler and for his hockey IQ. When it came time to shine, he continued to impress at both the Five Nations tournament where his smarts and vision stood out, and finished his year with a very strong showing at the WU18 event, with five points in five games wearing the national colors.
From Corey Pronman of ESPN (Excerpt only – full article behind pay wall):
Chytil was a regular in the top Czech league as a bottom-six forward for his team, despite being one of the youngest players eligible for the 2017 draft. Chytil is an impressive skater who can be tough to check when he’s coming through the neutral zone with speed. His stick skills are above average, and I watched him create chances out of nothing. He moves the puck around fine and is creative offensively.
Martin Necas wasn’t the only teen making waves in the Czech senior circuit. Chytil, a talented two-way forward with slick moves and strong balance, was a regular for Zlin and performed admirably at the U18’s last April. He’s an excellent penalty killer and likes to hang on to the puck rather than give away to facilitate his own safety.
Filip Chytil is my prospect crush/underrated sleeper pick in this year’s draft. The fact that he is rated so low on most lists honestly baffles me sometimes. Sure, he has some features that often cause prospects to be overlooked – he’s extremely young for this draft class, and the fact that he played pro hockey all season led him to a modest 8 points to show for the year. On the other hand, he’s one of the youngest members of his draft class and he played professional hockey all season. Chytil doesn’t turn 18 until September 5th, meaning that he could actually have played in the Czech U18 league that he dominated last season, but instead he spent 38 games with HC Zlin in the Czech Extraliga, one of Europe’s top four professional leagues.
The search for red flags comes up dry, as Chytil doesn’t seem to have any of the drawbacks that cause players to be pushed down rankings. He’s got great size (typically listed at an already acceptable 6-feet, Chytil was measured at 6-foot-2.25 and 192 pounds at the NHL Combine on the weekend), he’s a well-above-average skater with a great stride, good top speed and good acceleration, he has a good shot, sees the ice well, and demonstrates a high level of intelligence on the ice.
From an eye test perspective, Chytil plays an attractive game. With the puck, he plays a skilled, east-west style with above average puck protection and an emphasis on puck possession. He has good vision and play making ability and will be patient until lanes open up for players in opportune shooting areas. Away from the puck, he displays relentless effort in puck retrieval, hunting down puck carriers while still staying between them and pass options, and using his body to throw hits pin opponents deep in enemy territory. He can play both centre and the wing, predominantly playing the former position with some measurable success during the recent U18 tournament.
Statistically speaking, he shows better than his eight points would indicate on the surface. Chytil received an average of 12:30 of ice time in his 38 Extraliga games, with about 6% of that coming on the power play (an average of 46 seconds per game). The major difference between Chytil and Martin Necas, a projected top ten pick who also played in the Czech league is their power play ice time and production. Necas averaged 2:32 on the power play and scored five power play points – Chytil on the other hand did not have any power play points in his limited time on the man advantage.
Reduced to 5-on-5 time, the discrepancy between Necas and Chytil’s production dissipates. Both had four goals and seven primary points at 5-on-5, with Necas bagging a couple of extra secondary assists to break the tie. Necas’ Brno Kometa was also a stronger team that Chytil’s HC Zlin, with the former scoring 32 more goals than the latter over the course of a 52 game season. Indeed, HC Zlin had to fight to stay in the league, surviving the Extraliga relegation series, in which Filip Chytil contributed two points in two games.
Chytil also showed well internationally, particularly at the U18 tournament in Slovakia in April in which he actually outplayed and outproduced Necas while centering either the Czech’s first line between Necas and 2018 top prospect Filip Zadina, or the third line between Jan Kern and Ostap Safin. In both tournaments his play was lauded, though his creep up the rankings has been quite slow.
Similar to the argument I made comparing Robin Salo to Miro Heiskanen statistically, the purpose here isn’t to suggest that Chytil is better than, or even as good as Martin Necas, one of the drafts top prospects. It does however indicate that the difference isn’t quite as far as Chytil’s typical position in the rankings suggests.
If I were a team drafting in the late first or early second round, I’d be looking to get my hands on this player. Both scouting reports and statistical measures are indicating that he’s being severely underrated in the mainstream rankings. If left too long, Chytil has real potential to be a draft steal, and the later he goes in the draft, the greater a steal he may eventually become.