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Edit Drafted 27th Overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
High Profile International Tournaments can often be a coming out party for an NHL Draft Prospect. Playing for Slovakia, Marko Dano has made it a habit of throwing a “Coming Out” party on the IIHF stage. Despite playing on a less than stellar national team Dano has had outstanding back to back World Junior Tournaments in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, playing inferior competition at the Division 1a Under 18s, Dano put up 13 points in 5 games, helping Slovakia win the tournament and earn placement back in the World Group. It is unfortunate that Slovakia was relegated in 2011, and Dano (as a 1994 birthdate) was too old to play in 2013, as it would have been nice to see him play that top notch competition in his own age group. Instead Dano went to the Mens World Championships and picked up 1 goal 1 assist in 5 games for Slovakia, despite some limited ice time. That is pretty impressive performance (especially since his goal was key in a win over USA in the preliminary round) for a player his age at the Mens Worlds.
Dano plays his club hockey for HC Slovan Bratislava in the KHL. Certainly the experience of playing against men can only help Dano going forward. Dano’s father, Jozef Dano, played elite european pro hockey in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Switzerland and Austria.
Born Nov 30 1994 — Eisenstadt, AUT
Height 5’11.75″ — Weight 198 — Shoots Left
Dano is a very good skater. His top in speed is good, and his acceleration is excellent. His stride is powerful, and his edgework crisp. He has the balance to fight through checks and to play the game in the dirty areas of the ice, and he has the agility to weave his way through defenders in the offensive zone. Dano’s quickness allows him to be first on the forecheck where he loves to get into the zone and create havoc for opposing defenders.
Dano’s game is a great combination of skill and grit. As mentioned he loves to hit and involve himself physically in the play. He plays a much bigger game than his size would indicate, battling in the corners and in front of the net. He is in the middle of every scrum, playing the agitator role and just loving to get under the skin of his opponents. He marries this with good instincts, an ability to find holes in the opposing defence, strong passing and playmaking skill, and a good shot and release. Dano’s best offensive attribute though are his soft hands which he can use to stick handle and protect the puck from defenders and to score goals in tight.
Dano also plays a strong defensive game, bringing his brand of phyiscal hockey to his own end of the rink. He is involved in all aspects of the backcheck, but is especially adept at creating turnovers and starting the transition game. He is not afraid to get his nose dirty, and seems to play with reckless abandon on every shift. In fact if there is a criticism its that he may need to reign his game in slightly to avoid costly penalties at bad times.
Dano’s style is reminiscent of Pat Verbeek, the little ball of hate. He’s a great combination of grit and skill. Now this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on potential. With Dano’s skating, grit, never quit motor and good defensive play, he’s a pretty safe pick in the draft, and is highly likely to make the NHL in a checking line role at minimum. If he can keep developping the offensive skill he can be a top 6 winger.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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