Simon Nemec Scouting Report: 2022 NHL Draft #3

Simon Nemec Scouting Report
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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 2022 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 bring you our Simon Nemec Scouting Report. 

Slovakian defenceman Simon Nemec has excelled playing against his own age group as well as against men in the Slovakian Elite League. He helped lead Slovakia to a silver medal at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament last summer, the best-ever showing for the country. Nemec put up one goal and five assists for six points in five games. He won the tournament MVP.  As an underage player at the 2021 World Juniors, he was named a top-three player on the Slovakian team, putting up four assists in five games. He had one assist in two games in this year’s tournament before things were called off due to COVID.

Nemec has also excelled against men. He scored one goal and 25 assists for 26 points in 39 games for HK Nitra in the Slovak Extraliga this season. He was even better in the playoffs. Nemec scored five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 19 games. He also played on the Slovakian team at the 2022 Olympics, helping them to a bronze medal. Nemec scored one assist in seven games. His brother Adam Nemec is just 14-years-old, but is already turning heads in the Slovak Under-16 and Under-18 domestic leagues.

Simon Nemec Scouting Report

Right Defence — shoots Right
Born February 15th, 2004 — Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia
Height 6’1″ — Weight 189 lbs [185 cm / 86 kg]

Skating

Nemec’s strong skating is the basis of his excellent tw0-way game. He has a very good stride which gives him good speed in both directions. Nemec has a very good first step and strong crossovers. His good edgework and agility give him excellent lateral movement. He can utilize this to play defence, maintaining good gap control and forcing oncoming attackers to the outside and away from high danger scoring areas. He can also use this to walk the line and create offence in the attack. Nemec is very strong on his skates for his age. This helps him to fight through checks and maintain his balance. It also helps him to win battles along the boards and in front of the net. As Nemec matures, he will add muscle to his frame and this will make him even better.

Offensive Game

Nemec marries his good skating ability with strong puck-handling. He can skate the puck out of his end and can lead the rush through the neutral zone. Most of the time he uses his lateral agility and strong stickhandling to generate effective zone entries. However, there are times when he should pass the puck instead of skating the puck into multiple defenders and getting trapped. His passing skills and vision are very good. Nemec can find the open man with a smart first pass. He can also hit a streaking forward for a long breakaway pass. In the offensive zone, he quarterbacks things from the blue line. His lateral movement and puck control allow him to open up passing lanes and set up teammates for a scoring chance.

Nemec’s lateral movement also allows him to open up shooting lanes. He prefers his wrist shot to his slap shot or one-timer. Nemec likes to sneak into the top of the circles and quickly catch and shoot the puck. He could stand to add a bit more power and accuracy on his shot though. This is holding him back from being a real threat to score goals at this point. His one-timer is improving but again accuracy is a bit of an issue. He is able to avoid getting his shots blocked though. His good lateral movement allows him to open up shooting lanes and avoid defenders.

Defensive Game

Nemec is also very good in his own end of the ice. His skating and gap control force attackers to the outside and away from dangerous scoring areas. While he is n0t a big hitter, he is able to rub his man out along the boards and take him out of the play. He also does a good job of using his leverage to win battles in front of the net and in the corners. Nemec is a smart player with good positioning. He reads the play well and anticipates passes. His quick stick is good at cutting down passing lanes or stealing pucks with a poke check. He is also quick to get back on dump-ins and retrieve loose pucks. When a turnover is created, Nemec can skate the puck out of his zone or move it up the ice quickly with a good first pass.

Projection and Comparison

Nemec has already played big minutes against men in the Slovakian league meaning that he could be NHL ready before the average defender. However, the Slovakian league certainly isn’t the strongest in Europe and he may need to spend a year in a better European League or the AHL before he is NHL ready. Once he gets there, he has the potential to be a do-it-all two-way defender in time. Nemec’s ceiling is to be a true #1 franchise defender once he matures. He will need to iron out a few things in his game, such as being smarter with his offensive zone entries and continuing to add weight to his frame. His game is reminiscent of Roman Josi. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.

Highlights

The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Simon Nemec that are available on youtube and Twitter.

Check back tomorrow for our next draft article.

 

Simon Nemec Scouting Report Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

Slovakia’s Simon Nemec (R) is challenged by Finland’s Hannes Bjorninen during their men’s preliminary round group C match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 10, 2022. (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)