Having just wrapped up a major round of reviewing the North American skaters ranked by NHL CSS, I decided to turn my attention today to a European prospect who I have only just had the opportunity to scout recently. One of the youngest prospects in the entire 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Filip Chytil is a very intriguing prospect to me, and is somebody I would give a lot of consideration in the top 60 this year.
While not receiving as much attention as his fellow countrymen Martin Necas and Ostap Safin, Chytil has quietly had a very impressive U18s thus far, and has caught my eye enough that he warrants talking about. He currently ranks 4th on the team in scoring, behind only Jan Kern and 2018 draft eligibles Jachym Kondelik and Filip Zadina. If anything, Chytil has had a better tournament than either Necas or Safin.
Ranking: #11 by NHL Central Scouting (European skaters)
Weight: 179 lbs
With HC Zlin: 38 GP, 4 G, 4 A, 16 PIM, -5; Relegation: 2 GP, 1 G, 1 A, +1
U18s (thus far): 4 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 2 PIM, +1
I feel rather... uncomfortable actually admitting who Chytil reminds me of when I watch him with the puck on his stick, and how he darts and weaves with the puck through traffic, as it almost feels blasphemous to say, and I feel some of you might give me some flak for it. Thus, I'm going to preface it with a small clip of Chytil playing last week so you see exactly where I am getting this from. If you still decide you want to crucify me for saying it after, then so be it:
Video Credit to YouTube User Prospect Videos
When I say I see some shades of how Datsyuk handles the puck through traffic, in no way am I saying Filip Chytil will ever be as good as Datsyuk was. The Magic Man sets a standard that's next to impossible to meet. But.... that's the first player I thought of when I watched him handle the puck. I was so uneasy with admitting it that I had to get several opinions from other fans on who he reminded them of. Most commonly, they said the same thing, with the same hesitancy that I have.
Chytil's movements and puckhandling abilities are extremely fluid and elusive, able to handle the puck, weaving and darting through traffic with ease. He can change direction on his skates on a dime, and is a magician with the puck on his stick. While he's a bit undersized and needs to pack on a bit more muscle, he's deceptively difficult to contain or knock off the puck. Just when you think he's cornered, he finds a way to maneuver around the defender with the puck, and his stride and balance are incredibly strong, allowing him to fend off a lot of larger players. He plays more of a pass-first kind of game, and is an excellent setup man. He seems to have superb on-ice awareness, and plays a very creative offensive game that has a lot of flair to it. His wrist shot has a great release on it, and is very accurate, but he is most dangerous when he's down low in tight, where he can use his quick hands to beat goaltenders.
While he is a winger, and is not expected to play as defensively responsibly as one would expect with a center, Chytil plays a very strong 200 ft game for a winger, and his footspeed makes him excellent on the transition. He sports a great stick, and shows a knack for stealing pucks off of other players, both in the offensive and defensive zone. He is extremely crafty, and often finds ways to create plays seemingly out of nothing.
Like many prospects his age, Chytil needs to work on continuing to get stronger and faster in transitioning into the NHL. However, Chytil is ahead of the curb in terms of a lot of North American prospects in that he already has experience playing in a professional league against grown men, and such experience should be invaluable in helping him transition to the next level.
Overall, Chytil is an extremely intriguing prospect. His puck skills are to die for, and he brings an incredible amount of offensive creativity, vision, and hockey IQ to the table. I expect Chytil to be taken sometime in the 2nd round, although I wouldn't be surprised if he was taken in the late 1st round. If Chytil is on the board when the Wings pick in the 2nd round, Chytil's name will be one of the first names on my lips.
Video from YouTube User NHL Prospects
Video from YouTube User Prospect Videos
An updated video with full footage of Filip Chytil, demonstrating his excellent 200 ft game, and his ability to protect the puck, play through traffic, and win battles along the boards. Overall, he is an excellent prospect that oozes skill and hockey IQ. A real gem in this draft. Video credit to Prospect Videos.
For my next prospect, I plan on talking about 3rd time eligible Ottawa 67s forward Artur Tyanulin. Stay tuned, and happy scouting!