Who is the best Czech hockey player in his position and who will confirm it this season as well? Deník Sport and iSport.cz join the fan debates with their own project. On our website, you will gradually find the results of the editorial voting of four categories: forwards, goalkeepers, defenders and, as a bonus, a ranking of top domestic players under the age of 20 with currently the most interesting outlook for the future. This time it’s the defenders’ turn.
An offensive torpedo led by a defensive dog who loves the system. How Košťálk’s hockey, which is wilder in places, will fit with Varaď’s order is a very big topic. We are waiting for it to fall into place, Košťálek will help cure the not very functional Pardubice powerhouse. And it will move in a similar direction as Hronek did. From a one-way back, he starts to become more of a two-way. You will see!
He played over 50 matches overseas in his first season in 2017/2018 alone, otherwise never. And this is the key topic. Will he stay fit? Bad luck continues to stick to him, he was injured again in preparation. The Sharks management had to place him on the free agent list at the end of October, before sending him to the farm, from which no other NHL interested parties selected him. He is waiting for a chance, if he stays healthy, he still has a lot to offer.
He has a bit of a problem. Quite a few spots have opened up in Boston, but only on offense. Defense? It’s still quite crowded there. Five places are basically certain, the rest are fighting for the sixth. He destroyed his internal battle and lost, Ian Mitchell or Kevin Shattenkirk is more likely to come here. The Czech defender is in the last year of his contract, so don’t be surprised that it will be elsewhere. He started on a farm in Providence.
Two years in the juniors and really enough. Now he has a full season on the farm and a couple of lifts towards the NHL. However, his main workplace will be Cleveland. Well, thanks to this, the Czech Republic can look forward to a relatively interesting line-up of backs for the World Cup, because Columbus is still in the breathing phase, and even its farm is not yet at the top of the AHL. Nothing should change, so both Svozil and Jiříček will go to the WC.
It will take him a while to fully establish himself in Finland. But the season will end in style and at the WC in Prague. He has good movement, great reading of the game and strong offensive instincts. It fits exactly into the hockey that Radim Rulík will try to play with the national team. In the end, it won’t be a direct ticket to the NHL, but after a one-year stay in Lahti, he will talk about an engagement with a big European club.
He dominates extra-league backs, you can see that his performance is a little different in practically every round. Without him, Sparta would have big problems. He takes care of himself in such a way that his body looks as if you carved it on a lathe. It will help him a lot if he stays fit and plays the whole season at one address. So? The best back in the extra league and will also get a place on the roster for the WC in Prague.
He has never played in such a bad team overseas. He played in Chicago, Tampa, Pittsburgh, won the Stanley Cup twice. Now he plays in the team at the bottom. But it has one positive, for the first time he can really sell an item he was not entitled to. He couldn’t outplay Keith, Hedman or Letang, but he can finally get on the power play regularly. He starts making points.
Even last season, it looked like he had to go to the NHL and there was no other way. Columbus didn’t have many right-handers at the back. But Severson and Provorov arrived in the summer, which made his situation more complicated. The introduction worked for him, but he probably won’t play everything. Will he handle roughly 40-50 games? The team will not go to the playoffs, so the end of the season will be his. He shines on the farm and collects a point per game.
He realizes what he is strong in, where his main discipline is, and he will not change anything even after moving from Florida to the Ducks. Already in the preparation, he showed that he can easily make a hole in the goalpost with his opponent. The king of hits will give away a lot of goodies during the season. He will be well liked in Anaheim, with young stars like Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish getting a beast to protect them.
He jumped quite a bit. Detroit may have traded him to Vancouver because they didn’t believe he could stay at the top. But he is next to us. Hronek is changing, he still has good movement, strength and energy to rush into the attack. Mainly, however, he is moving more and more into the position of a complex back. He shines in the first defense with captain Quinn Hughes. He will go over 50 points, mainly thanks to the recruitment of assists.
11. Ronald Knot (Liberec)
12. Tomáš Kundrátek (Třinec)
13. Jakub Galvas (Malmö)
14. Tomáš Dvořák (Pardubice)
15. Jiří Ticháček (Kladno)
16. Jakub Jeřábek (Třinec)
17. David Sklenička (Astana)
18. Libor Hájek (Wilkes-Barre/Scr.)
19. Petr Zámorský (Pilsen)
20. David Spacek (Minnesota)
21. Dominik Mašín (Ilves Tampere)
22. Filip Pyrochta (Ml. Boleslav)
23. David Nemeček (Sparta)
24. Martin Jandus (Oulu)
25. Ondřej Vála (Pardubice)
26. Filip Pavlík (Mountfield HK)
27. Lukáš Klok (Nižněkamsk)
28. Vojtěch Mozík (Sparta)
29. Denis Zeman (Litvínov)
30. Jiří Ondrušek (Olomouc)