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 David Jiricek Scouting Report.
Czechia defenceman David Jiricek has long been considered a top prospect and advanced for his age. He played his first games in the Czechia Extraliga in 2019-20, facing men when he was just 16-years-old. He has spent the majority of the last two years in the league, playing full-time against men at just 17 and 18-years-old. This season he scored five goals and six assists for 11 points in 29 games with HC Plzen. He was also part of the Czechia World Junior team, picking up an assist in the one game the team played before the tournament was shut down and postponed to August. Unfortunately, he also suffered a knee injury in that World Junior game and missed the next several months after surgery.
Last season Jiricek scored three goals and six assists for nine points in 34 games. He added one assist in two playoff games. Jiricek also put up a goal and an assist in five games at the World Juniors. Despite being just 17, Jiricek played big minutes and was named a top-three player on the team. Jiricek was also a key player for Czechia at the Under-18 World Championships.
David Jiricek Scouting Report
Right Defence — shoots Right
Born November 28th, 2003 — Klatovy, Czechia
Height 6’3″ — Weight 189 lbs [191 cm/86 kg]
Jiricek marries his good size with strong skating ability. He shows a long stride which helps him to generate good speed and acceleration in both directions. His cross-overs and pivots are strong. Coupled with good edgework and agility, he has the ability to move laterally. This helps him to defend against the rush. It also helps him to walk the line in the offensive end, opening up passing and shooting lanes. Jiricek’s pivots allow him to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. He also shows good balance and the ability to fight through checks and win battles along the boards. He still has room to add muscle to his frame though. This should help him to be even better in these areas as he matures.
Jiricek also shows strong offensive skills. He marries his strong skating with good stickhandling ability. This allows him to carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate effective zone entries. He also has the poise to control the puck at the point and make plays in the offensive zone. Jiricek shows good vision and passing ability. He can start the transition game with a good first pass, hit a teammate for a long breakaway pass if they get behind the defence, as well as control the puck and make plays in the offensive end. His decision-making is good and Jiricek often makes a smart play.
Jiricek can also be a weapon from the point. He has an excellent slap shot and one-timer. He generates a lot of power on his shots. One minor quibble is that he should work to keep his shot low and on the net, allowing his teammates to set up screens as well as get deflections and rebounds. Jiricek also has a powerful wrist shot. However, his release can use some work. He has a really big wind-up which allows goalies to anticipate the shot and correctly position themselves. Jiricek loves to join the rush and pinch in from the blueline in an attempt to create more offensive chances.
Jiricek is strong in his own end of the ice. His strong skating, quickness, and good lateral movement allow him to maintain good gap control. He is tough to beat off the rush and forces attackers to the outside. When the gets the opportunity, he is able to explode into a hit if a defender tries to sneak by him. However, he also shows good discipline as he does not get himself caught out of position looking for those big hits. Jiricek shows strong positioning. He is willing to put his body on the line to block shots. He is also good at using his active stick to cut down passing lanes.
Jiricek should get stronger along the boards as he adds muscle and matures but is already decent in this area. He also does a good job of getting the puck out of his end. He can make a good first pass. Jiricek also has the stickhandling ability to move the puck up the ice himself. Jiricek is very strong defensively when his man has the puck. However, he can stand to be a little bit closer and more aggressive in clearing his man from the front of the net when he doesn’t have it.
Projection and Comparison
Jiricek has the potential to be a number one defenceman in the NHL if he can continue to develop. He is a bit away from being NHL ready though. Expect him to spend the 2022-23 season in the Czech Republic. After that, he might need an AHL season to adjust to the smaller North American ice. While his game could use a few refinements, he is already pretty well-rounded and is strong in both ends of the ice. Its just a matter of continuing to make those small improvements. His game is reminiscent of Roman Hamrlik but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of David Jiricek that are available on youtube and Twitter.
David Jiříček must hate pucks. Guys always slapping them into oblivion.
Anyone who has underestimated Jiříček's offensive upside, may want to rethink their decision. pic.twitter.com/mSjfFH1XYF
— Future Watch (@FutureWatch_TV) May 2, 2022
David Jiricek grabs his 5th goal of the season on a lucky wrap-around bank.
He's up to 11 points in 27 Czech top-tier games – First among all U25 defenders.
He's 17. pic.twitter.com/rHitcloxrI
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) December 3, 2021
David Jiříček #45 is back in form and I think he's even better than before despite the long break. These are just a few clips from yesterday's game against Finland. His involvement in the offensive zone is getting way more aggressive…he's a huge offensive weapon. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/v2lEXtUkHj
— Marek Novotny (@MarekNovotny96) April 30, 2022
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) October 19, 2021
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) November 2, 2021
Check back tomorrow for our next article on the 2022 NHL Draft.
David Jiricek Scouting Report Main Photo:
EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 26: David Jiricek #5 of Czechia celebrates a goal against Canada in the first period during the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)