You want a giant Czech born centre who played in the USHL and is heading to the NCAA season, have we got the player for you!
Checking in as the 82nd prospect in the CanucksArmy 2018 draft rankings is Jachym Kondelik.
Outside of many top 100 rankings, Kondelik is a really intriguing player who produced extremely well in the Czech U18 league in 2015-16 before making the move to the USHL for the 2016-17 season. He followed that up with a strong U18 tournament to close out that campaign.
He headed back to the USHL and put up respectable numbers for the Lumberjacks and jumps out in a few draft data categories.
We’ll take a look at the 6’7″ centre from Budejovice, Czech Republic.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.74/ December 21, 1999
- Birthplace: Budejovice, CZE
- Frame:6-foot-7/ 218 lbs
- Position: Centre
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
SeasonAwards by season
- Czech U18 Most Assists (46)
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
- U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team
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As is the case with quite a few of these prospects in this range, there are some flaws to their game and some highlights. For Kondelik, his shots per game played, SEAL and pGPS stand out for the analytic and numbers lenses. His goals for percentage is the biggest flag but his GF%REL makes up for that and the added context that despite Muskegon making the playoff, they finished 8 games over .500, with a -4 goal differential.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
The above chart shows that Kondelik saw some even strength ice time with Pettersson, Del Gaizo, Pekar, de Mey and Bongiovanni throughout his season with Muskegon. Although not huge points per 60 for the big centre, we saw some production that puts him above a couple of those and decent goals for percentages.
Given his large size, there is a small sample size when looking at Kondelik with pGPS but the success rate is extremely encouraging. A total of 48.9 of statistically comparable players went onto becoming NHL regulars with an expected point production of 41.6 points per 82 games played. That expected production is skewed by Blake Wheeler and his output but Jimmy Hayes is the closest comparable in terms of age and production. The fact that there are only 5 matches is something to keep in mind and obviously, the percentage and production jumps off the page because of that but there is that needed context.
Selected with the 5th overall selection in the 2016 CHL Import Draft by the Sudbury Wolves, Jachym Kondelik ultimately decided that he wanted to remain eligible for the NCAA and thus chose the USHL route to make his leap to North American hockey. Funny enough, looking back at that import draft Filip Zadina was selected by the Vancouver Giants with the 4th pick, who was later released and then re-selected by Halifax the next year.
“I chose the U.S.H.L. over the O.H.L. because I like the way they play better,” Kondelik said. “It’s more two-way hockey, and there’s a focus on defense. And that’s the kind of player I am — and the player I want to be — and thought it would be the best way for me to get better. There’s more time for practice to work on my skating and my skills and being in the weight room to get stronger. Plus, going to college is really big for me, probably most important.”
The added benefit of a longer development time through the USHL and NCAA, as opposed to the CHL, always has some benefits in terms of his draft selection – as CHL players rights are held by NHL teams for two years, whereas an NCAA player can have their rights retained for up to four years.
Jachym Kondelik = 🎯 pic.twitter.com/F7AXT69IBr
— USHL (@USHL) November 4, 2017
When watching Kondelik, the most obvious thing that stands out about his game is his size. That size manifests in his skating as he has a very long stride and thus doesn’t appear to be working hard to generate his speed, reminding me of Cal Foote with the Kelowna Rockets. It doesn’t look like they skate well but they get the speed they need from a few strides. There have been some concerns that he can’t keep up with the play because of his slower and strong stride – that he might get left behind by quicker forwards. This is something that he will need to work on to succeed at the next level with a focus on the technical side of skating.
That size also gives him a long reach to handle the puck which is a double-edged sword as he has a wide span to move the puck around but it also appears that he doesn’t really have full control or isn’t particularly strong on the puck. He is strong on his feet but isn’t heavy on that puck. He is strong along the boards using his size and reach to keep opponents away and thus allowing him to control the puck well, despite him not looking strong on his stick.
Obviously given his size, he won’t be able to bear down on the puck and this is why it stands out. He is willing to take players on in one on one situations and his size makes it difficult for opponents to strip him. Kondelik has a good shot that he is able to get off well when given the space. He is a good two-way centre who is adequate in his own zone.
There have been some suggestions that he may be better suited on the wing at the NHL level and that is likely due to his skating but I think his defensive game is good enough that he could remain at centre.
Although his point totals didn’t jump off the page this season, there are signs that he will continue to round out his offensive game and continue to improve there. His underlying data is promising and with the longer development path through the University of Connecticut, there is reason to believe that a team will take Kondelik in the mid rounds. You can’t teach size but you also can’t teach skill and Kondelik has enough skill to warrant valuing the size he possesses.
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Massive Czech giant who may project to the wing. Long reach and stick that provides a big area of coverage. Has a good bit of skill. Long term developmental prospect who needs to get his movement caught up with his size, and continue to build more of an offensive game. Also learn to better handle possession in smaller areas.
Two-way power forward who often plays on Muskegon’s top line and can even play the point on the power play. More smooth than quick in open ice, Kondelik has a soft touch and good vision to help beat back a pressure in the neutral zone. He uses his size, strength and reach to his advantage during board battles, and cleanly connects with cutters through traffic. Kondelik may be a jack-of-all-trades at the USHL and international level, but he likely tops out as a solid depth forward who can be used in critical late-game scenarios.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings