Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Jan Bednar.
Czech goaltender Jan Bednar played against men this season despite being just 17-years-old. While he struggled at times, the very fact he got the opportunity shows his talent level and how he has previously dominated in the junior ranks. He played 13 games for Karlovy Vary HC in the top Czech league, putting up a 4.39 goals-against-average and a .884 save percentage. Bednar also played 24 games on loan in the Czech second division for HC Banik Sokolov putting up a 3.26 goals-against-average and .873 save percentage. He also represented the Czech Republic at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Bednar had better numbers in 2018-19. In 10 games for Karlovy Vary HC he put up a 2.73 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage. He also played five playoff games with a 2.50 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage. Bednar was named the Extraliga rookie of the year. He also put up a 2.39 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage in the Czech Under-19 league. Bednar represented his country on numerous occasions, helping them to win gold at the European Youth Olympic Festival (0.67 and .977 in 3 games). He was named the tournament’s best goalie. He also played in the Under-18 World Championships and Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
Jan Bednar Scouting Report
Goaltender — shoots Left — catches Left
Born August 26th, 2002 — Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Height 6’4″ — Weight 196 lbs [194 cm/89 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
At 6-foot-4 Bednar has the type of size that NHL teams are looking for in their goalie prospects. His skating allows him to make the most of this, as Bednar plays at the top of his crease, cutting down angles and challenging shooters. He moves are around the crease well, getting back if challenged and has a strong lateral push to move sideways. Bednar tracks the puck extremely well. He is almost always on his line and square to the shooter. He anticipates plays well and gets across the crease quickly to make the save on cross-ice passes. Bednar says close to his post and protects the net well when the puck is down low or behind the net. He is extremely athletic and able to make saves even when he is out of position.
Bednar has quick legs and gets up and down in the butterfly quickly. His long legs take away the bottom of the net and it is difficult to beat him along the ice. However, his size can lead to some issues, including a tendency to get beat five-hole. That will need to be improved. His glove hand is very quick and it is difficult to beat him on that side. Like many young goalies, Bednar needs to continue to work on his rebound control. He could work to kick more pucks to the corners and be better with his blocker hand as well.
With his good skating, Bednar is able to come out of his net and retrieve loose pucks. He then makes a pass to a defenceman to start the transition game. Bednar is also able to clear the puck if his team is killing a penalty or make a long pass up the ice if he catches his opponent on a bad line change. He even scored a goal, shooting the puck all the way down the ice when he was playing in the Under-16 league.
Bednar stays calm and composed in net, to the point where some have criticized a lack of compete level. I don’t believe that is a problem. Bednar hasn’t always been consistent, but he fights to see the puck through traffic and works to get in position when he does give up a rebound. Bednar could stand to work on staying sharp when he does not see a shot for long periods of time though.
Projection and Comparison
Bednar has the talent to be a starting goalie but needs plenty of development going forward. Working with a top goalie coach to refine his natural talent would help him going forward. The natural talent is there but it is very raw right now. It is expected that Bednar will leave his Czech team in the near future, but with the concerns around the pandemic that could now be up in the air. If the CHL were to start on time next year, a couple of years in that league would help him get used to North American ice. It would also feature better shooters than the Czech junior league, while not having him in the Extraliga where he has been overmatched at times facing men. Bednar’s game is reminiscent of Jean-Sebastian Giguere, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Jan Bednar that are available on twitter.
Jan Bednář has looked really good in this tournament. Here are some highlights from today. He stays upright and makes himself look big in the net, square to the shooter and good reflexes for a 6′-4″ goalie. #HlinkaGretzkyCup #2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/NrW9zMOTqc
— Joshua D. (@hckyprospects) August 8, 2019
Jan Bednar posted a 4.39 GAA, .884 SV% and one shutout in 13 games with @hokejkv this season. Not great numbers, but he faced top opponents.
Big mobile goalie with good reflexes and puck handling skills.
— Czech Prospects (@CZprospects) April 12, 2020
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Jan Bednar Main Photo:
Jan Bednar of the HC Energie Karlovy Vary (http://www.hokejkv.cz/)