Photo Credit: Marissa Baecker / Kelowna Rockets
D.O.B – April 16, 2002
Nationality – Czech Republic
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 5’10
Weight – 170 lbs
Position – Right Wing/Left Wing
Handedness – Right
Novák’s Style Of Play
Novák is a shifty Czech winger who crossed the pond last summer to head to the WHL. What stands out when you watch Novák play is that he is a good skater, who is great at finding lanes in the offensive zone and creating space for himself. But he is not merely defined by his skating alone. He has a high skill level – which has been evidenced on numerous occasions at the highest levels of u-16, u-17 and u-18 international hockey, versus the best junior players on earth – with quick hands and an ability to control the puck well in full stride. Novák also has a solid shot that he can get off quickly when needed. Where he really wins though? Passing. No matter where he is on ice he finds tape all day long. This is supplemented by great vision and high IQ in the offensive zone, he can dissect plays developing and adapt what he is going to do to create high percentage chances. As a result, it is not rare to see a goal go in off the stick of one of his line-mates without the goalie having time to react.
The Czech winger is also fun to watch in the neutral zone. He is very effective at transitioning the puck up ice, and loves to get defensemen get on their heels by pushing play. He also has a real tendency to want to “get on his horse”. You can see him champing at the bit when off the puck, looking for opportunities to get up ice with speed. On the power-play he controls play well from the right boards, but also uses his puck-handling and vision to drift out to the blue-line to create seams.
But, there are some downsides to his game. He can play too much of a perimeter game at times, and while not “shy” when it comes to physical contact he is not generally a favorite to win a 1v1 board battle. At times he seems to lose plays in the neutral zone and defensive zone when off the puck, and his consistency shift-to-shift also needs improvement. In terms of NHL upside, he could well be a middle six winger down the line, who has the power-play ability to potentially be on a second unit.
Andreas Johnsson, Left Wing, Toronto Maple Leafs
Like the Swedish winger, Novak is a smaller forward who relies on his speed, skill and energy to make an impact. Neither are great defensively even if they try in that area, and both can be found playing a perimeter game at times.
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