NHL Draft Prospect Profile #56: Tomas Hyka

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Drafted 171st overall by the Los Angeles Kings.

Tomas Hyka was eligible for the 2011 draft but went undrafted.  The Czech born winger was invited to the Philadelphia Flyers training camp last fall, and the Flyers reportedly offered him a contract, but then learned that under the CBA they were unable to sign an undrafted player who played the previous season in Europe and was under 22 years of age.  This was a major screw-up on the Flyers behalf as they were reportedly looking at Hyka in last years draft, but passed on him thinking that they could afford to take the gamble of signing him as an undrafted player.  You can read the full story about this at BroadStreet Hockey, at CSNPhilly and at SBNation Philly. Hyka spent this season with the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL and if he passes through the draft, he’ll be free to sign with a team in the summer, but we think its highly unlikely he goes undrafted again.  Like Tanner Pearson, Seth Griffith, and Anton Zlobin, we think that 2012 will be the year these re-entries are surely drafted into the NHL.

Right Wing
Born Mar 23 1993 — Mlada Boleslav, CZE
Height 5.10 — Weight 160 — Shoots Right

2010-11 Mlada Boleslav BK Czech 13 1 0 1 6 -8
2011-12 Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 50 20 44 64 30 14  4 1 1 2 0

Hyka is another great skater in this year’s draft class.  He’s got great top end speed, and really good acceleration.  He’s agile and extremely shifty, and uses his edges extremely well making sudden stops and starts, changes of direction, or changes of pace, giving defenders fits.  He’s got good balance, but needs some work on his core strength so he can be stronger on his skates and not knocked around as easily as he is.

In the offensive zone Hyka is a good puckhandler who isn’t afraid to take the puck to the net despite his frame.  He has a decent shot and release, but is more of a playmaker off the wing than a scorer.  He has good vision and makes crisp tape to tape passes putting teammates in good positions to convert.  Hyka possesses excellent hockey sense and offensive instinct.

The biggest question on Hyka is his size and strength.  He can be overpowered off the puck at times by bigger stronger defenders.  He can also be overpowered in the defensive zone despite his attentive backchecking.  Hyka is a willing and committed back checker.  We feel that he works hard in the defensive zone, has good positioning and is aggressive and involved in the play.  However his physical short comings really detract from his overall effectiveness in his own end of the ice.  He quite simply will need to put a lot of muscle onto his frame before he is ready for the rigors of NHL Hockey.  Hyka could also stand to be more consistent, as there are times where he can disappear for stretches.

Hyka might be undersized, but his skating and his skill level may be enough that he can still carve out a place in the NHL.  We’d compare his potential to be a player similar to Tyler Ennis of the Buffalo Sabres.

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