Photo Credit – Billy-Jack Kimmerly / Kingston Frontenacs
The man from the Czech-Slovak border has been a player that European prospect watchers have been keeping their eyes on since he was 15 years old, when he was putting in high-end performances at u-16 international level. He cemented his status as one to watch the next season. In 2018-19 he had the best season in the Slovak u-20 league for a 16-year-old since 2013 1st rounder Marko Dano.
After a cup-of-coffee for Dukla last season, and good performances at the u-18 WJC and Hlinka as the youngest player on his nations roster, there was some excitement to potentially see him raise his stock in the Slovak Extraliga in 2019-20. He certainly flashed his skills versus men. Despite a limited role he managed five goals in 32 games while playing well defensively. He saw some power-play time, but an average of 7:24 a game meant that despite his ability there was no great “buzz” about him for the draft.
He was then cruelly excluded – as final cut – from the Slovak World Juniors team, despite arguably being the u-20 national teams’ best player over the course of the season. This seemed like the final straw for him in Europe, and just over a week later he joined the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL.
The move to Canada seems a wise one in hindsight. Playing with the immensely talented Shane Wright – who will likely go #1 overall in 2022 – Chromiak put up 33 points in 28 games once he crossed the Atlantic. This catapulted him up draft rankings, to the point that some outlets placed him in the first round when he had not been top 100 a few months before.
D.O.B – August 20, 2002
Nationality – Slovakia
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –181 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Right
Chromiak’s Style Of Play
So what makes Chromiak an intriguing prospect? When you first watch him, a few things jump out. His wrist-shot might be the first one. He can get off fantastic shots from anywhere, at any speed. A right-handed shot who usually lines up on the left, the puck is often nestled in the top corner of the goal before the goalie even gets in line with the young Slovak. He complements that shot with his indefatigable forechecking. Rarely do defensemen have the time to look over their shoulder before Chromiak is on them, making their lives hell. There have been some criticisms of his “compete” level. But I cannot see where these come from.
As you would imagine for a player who is a fantastic forechecker with a high-end shot, Chromiak is also a good penalty-killer. But on break-aways it is not just his shot goalies have to fear. He has soft hands and a decent bag of tricks that make him a dual-threat in such situations.
Despite not being the biggest player he is very strong on his skates. He also has some inefficiencies in his skating stride. However, he can still hold off far bigger opponents on the cycle to create dangerous chances. Unsurprisingly, given such attributes, he is not scared of going to the slot or net, and can cause trouble in those areas.
On the power-play, with his high-end shot and plus hands, he can be dangerous from the LHB or the slot, and has played both over the last few years.
As for where he needs to improve? His skating is “fine” but he could be more explosive in his first few strides. Furthermore, despite a high-end shot he can puck-hog at times and try to create perfect passing plays instead of making a higher-percentage play. However, his hockey IQ is certainly above average, as shown by his ability to get to high-danger areas consistently. Chromiak works hard defensively but can get caught cheating in an attempt to get up ice, and in turn lose coverages. This will need to improve, but everything indicates that he has the will to play a two-way game.
Chromiak is a player who would be a first-round pick in most years, however, in such a strong draft he likely goes somewhere in the second round. Given that his skill-set could result in him being a good second line winger down the line, whoever takes him may well be getting a steal.
Jason Pominville, Right Wing, Played for the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild
Both Chromiak and Pominville are righties who use their high end shots with aplomb. They even share the quirk of going down on one knee to roof shots with regularity. But shot alone is not the only similarity. The two wingers are relentless forecheckers who are strong on the puck despite not being the biggest players. Effective in the cycle, the Slovakian – like the ex-Sabre – finds seams in the slot and in close. On the power-play especially they mirror each other with their work in the slot and left side. Both also have good hands and above average speed. Pominville was a clearly better defensive player than Chromiak is likely to be though.
Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alexander on Twitter, his handle is @Avappleyard.
Stats from EliteProspects
Looking for other scouting reports? Check out the Prospects tab for our other scouting reports.
Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!