The San Jose Sharks could have a solid option for the second or third round of the 2020 NHL Draft in Jaromir Pytlik.
18-year-old, Czech-born forward Jaromir Pytlik transferred into the OHL after half a season last year. Since then, he’s been a vital part of the Sault Ste. Marie (Soo) Greyhounds’ top-six forward group and the San Jose Sharks could target him in the 2020 NHL Draft as a result.
In 56 games for the Greyhounds this season, Pytlik recorded 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists). He also added an assist in five games for the Czech Republic U20 team during World Juniors and six points (two goals, four assists) in 14 games representing the Czech Republic U20 team in International Junior play.
Overall, Pytlik is a very strong two-way forward. However, there are some things about his game that hold him back from being a first-round prospect.
Pytlik’s biggest asset is his size. At 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, he’s quite a bit larger than most of his draft class.
This size also comes with a stronger lower body and core, allowing him to effectively win battles for loose pucks, board battles, and position himself in front of his opposition’s net.
His additional size also makes him difficult to knock off pucks. This combined with excellent stickhandling allows him to skate through checks and make plays while surrounded by other players.
Due to his stickhandling ability, size, and strength Pytlik is also effective at controlling the play below the goal line during the cycle game. He’s good from here at making space for his teammates.
With very good vision and passing, Pytlik has the ability to find his open teammates, even through tight spaces.
Owning soft, quick hands also makes scoring goals from in tight possible for Pytlik. He’s very good at scoring by deking out goalies, deflecting shots, and burying rebounds.
If he’s further out, Pytlik possesses a great wrist shot that’s hard and accurate with a quick release. Additionally, his one-timer is pretty good.
Pytlik has good straight-line speed that he effectively uses to get around defenders. He also combines this speed with his unmatched work ethic to effectively forecheck and force defensemen to quickly make plays that often result in a mistake and turnover.
Bringing his excellent work ethic into his own zone, Pytlik uses his great defensive positioning, anticipation, play-reading ability, and long, quick, active stick to break up passes and get into shooting lanes to cause turnovers.
His size and strength allow him to be very effective at supporting his defense against the cycle down low. All of this great hockey sense makes Pytlik a very effective penalty killer.
Additionally, Pytlik is pretty good in the faceoff circle. Making him an even better two-way forward and penalty killer.
The biggest gripe about Pytlik is his skating. Yes, he has good speed when it comes to skating in a straight line, however, everything else is just average to below average.
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When it comes to his first step, acceleration, agility, and edgework they could all use some work. This can be seen with his turns, which are wide and cause him to lose speed when changing direction.
As previously mentioned, the young Czech forward has very good core and lower-body strength. However, his upper-body strength could use some work.
San Jose Sharks Prediction
Pytlik is mostly projected to go in the second or third round and isn’t really ranked higher than the mid to late 30s by scouts.
Experts say his ceiling is just a middle-six forward — most likely as a winger — because of his lackluster skating. However, with his work ethic, I think Pytlik will greatly improve his skating in the years after he’s drafted, making him a top-six forward.
Because of this, I think the Sharks should take Pytlik with one of their two second-round picks. He has the ability to finish, set up his teammates with great chances, and play great defense, he just needs to fix his skating.
With the Sharks lack of center depth, Pytlik could be developed into the team’s 2C or 3C in just a couple of years because of his well-rounded style of hockey.