The 2nd ranked European goaltender in the NHL Central Scouting rankings, Jakub Skarek, lands in our 84th slot for the upcoming draft class.
Skarek had a disastrous World Juniors for the Czech Republic but held his own in the Extraliga for the entire season. He has the raw talent, size, and reflexes to be in consideration for the first goaltender taken this year.
- Age/Birthdate: / November 10, 1999
- Birthplace: Jihlava, CZE
- Frame:6-foot-3/ 196 lbs
- Position: Goalie
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: HC Dukla Jihlava(Czech)
- Czech2 Champion
- Czech2 Most Wins (21)
- Czech2 to Czech Promotion (HC Dukla Jihlava)
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
The two Czech goaltenders were ranked 1 and 2 in the final NHL CSS rankings and either one could be selected first. Skarek played really well at the Ivan Hlinka tournament to start the year, posting a 0.930 SV% in four games, and then really struggled at the World Juniors. He played very well in the 21 games with HC Dukla and in the second division.
Skarek is bigger of the two Czech goalies and as Greg mentions, he uses his size to his advantage to ensure that he is more conservative in the net and not allowing himself to get into positions where he is scrambling to recover. But he does recognize when he can attack a shooter on a breakaway or odd man chance.
He does a good job of looking above and around traffic to locate the puck. It’s easy to say he is ‘technical’ and uses his athleticism to his advantages and that requires a little further explanation. For the most part, Skarek is very controlled and tight with his butterfly and is adept at using his push offs to adjust his angle. He does a good job to keep his glove over his pad and eliminate the gap there.
As always, goalies are hard to predict and to properly evaluate at the junior level. There are huge swings in performance and can be swayed by small sample sizes on a larger stage. Skarek was consistent throughout the year in the Czech Republic and will head to the Liiga in Finland next year, where in my opinion he will do quite well. He has shown a track record of excelling over the last few years and thus had heightened expectations, that left people thinking he didn’t live up to them.
We’ll see him be one of the goalies taken in that first cluster of goaltenders taken and the drafting team should be excited about his potential as a netminder.
TSN Bob McKenzie
TSN Craig Button
The Hockey News
Nightmarish world juniors notwithstanding, Skarek remains the draft’s top goalie prospect. Blessed with size, cat-like quickness and a superior radar for puck movement, Skarek has held his own as a teenager in the Czech Republic’s premier league. He’s a classic butterfly goalie who handles the puck well and quickly challenges shooters above the crease. One thing that has impressed me is his glove-hand positioning in either the V/H (Vertical/ Horizontal) or RVH (Reverse Vertical/Horizontal) — Skarek keeps the glove directly above his pad to cover the upper half of the short side.