Dalibor Dvorsky is already being compared to Bo Horvat and could be the Canucks’ pick at 11
3 months ago
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Welcome back to our series here at CanucksArmy where we examine players who could be available to the Vancouver Canucks at 11th overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
We’ve previously broken down Swedish right-shot defenceman Axel Sandin Pellikka and last season’s youngest NCAA player, BC’s own, Matthew Wood. The third contender for the Canucks’ lucky number 11 selection is Slovakian-born centre Dalibor Dvorský.
Dalibor Dvorský has played almost exclusively in Sweden, and most recently for AIK in HockeyAllsvenskan: a league below the SHL. Coming off his first full year with the team, Dvorský had 14 points (6 G, 8 A) in 38 games. As an assistant for Slovakia’s U18 World Championship team, he put up 13 points (8 G, 5 A) in 7 games, and recorded three points (1 G, 2 A) in 5 games with the Slovakian World Junior team as a 17-year-old. According to Elite Prospects, Dvorský is expected to return to play with AIK next season. As a European player and non-CHLer, Dvorský is eligible to play in the AHL next season, as he’ll turn 18 less than two weeks before the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
What the scouts are saying
Craig Button, TSN: “I don’t think that Dalibor [Dvorský] is going to be a big-time offensive producer. But, you want him on your team because he’s going to be a factor somehow, someway. Whether it be defensively [on] faceoffs, offensively at the right time, [or] making players around him better — that’s Dalibor Dvorský.”
Bob McKenzie of TSN can see Dvorský cracking the top five if Russian winger Matvei Michkov, slotted to go at number five, is passed on. Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, and Michkov’s KHL contract which prevents him from playing in the NHL at least until 2026, it’s likely his draft stock will lower and Dvorský’s will rise. On his own, Dvorský has also moved up two spots on TSN’s draft list from eighth to sixth after his impressive U-18 World Championship showing.
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: “He has struggled in spurts with the pace required of centres at higher levels (whether that be last summer’s world juniors, or the pro game, he could stand to get and play a little quicker) and some scouts worry about his consistency at five-on-five, but he has shown important progress on that front and showed well at this winter’s world juniors at evens.”
David St-Louis, Elite Prospects: “He’s physical, shows skating and stickhandling skills, supports well, and he drives the net. I’m still unsure of the hockey sense grade. It’s not average, not high-end, somewhere in between. The thing is: I don’t think it will matter too much for his type of game in the NHL that he’s not a creative player. He will follow the system guidelines of his team, and paired with the right offence-driving teammates, he will still score his share of points. I see him as that two-way, reliable, puck-retrieving, and moving pivot that teams look for in their middle-six.”
Daniel Gee, Elite Prospects: “Worried his ceiling is a bit limited to be a top pick, but it’s understandable that he’s well-liked. Plays so hard, and has the right idea on most of his shifts, just lacks some of the game-breaking habits and skill-blending that scream top-line potential. He has a defensive element to his game which obviously helps the projection.”
Rankings (per Elite Prospects)
Dvorský’s average projected selection puts him in the Canucks’ wheelhouse with the 11th/12th pick. The highest he’s predicted to be taken is 7th, which is more dependent on where other forwards are taken in the draft than on his skill alone. The lowest he’s pegged to be taken at is 19th overall: well within the first round of the draft. While Elite Prospects ranks physicality as the best aspect of the 6’1, 201 lbs, forward’s game, earning him a rating in that category well beyond NHL calibre, Cam Robinson of Elite Prospects says he likes Dvorský’s game but doesn’t “love him in the top 10.”
While there’s already a lot to like in Dvorský’s game, most scouts agree that he doesn’t scream top-six potential, and therefore where he’ll land in the first round of the draft is highly debatable. The most praised aspect of Dvorský’s game is his work ethic. As Robinson said during one of his scouting reports on Dvorský: “No one will ever accuse [him] of not working. This kid has a serious motor and he uses it on nearly every shift.” His work ethic is largely making up for his skill set which is notably not as strong as other projected first-round picks.
Dvorský’s creativity was one of the areas that was a major cause of concern for scouts. Some acknowledge that while Dvorský can help to sustain an extended period of offensive zone pressure, he isn’t necessarily doing anything to convert that excess time into quality scoring chances, which ultimately lead to goals. While he may not be an offensive spark plug, Dvorský is recognized as this draft’s fourth-best two-way forward and fourth-best power forward. His excellence in the faceoff circle is precisely why Elite Prospects compares him to former Canuck, Bo Horvat. So, Canucks fans have to wonder, will history repeat itself on June 28?
What would your reaction be to the Canucks drafting defensive-minded centre Dalibor Dvorský? Let us know in the comments section below!
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