Photo Credit – Brandon Taylor / ProAm Images
Jan Myšák was somewhat of a wildcard in regards to the NHL draft. Many people saw him as a top 15 talent, while due to his size and concerns about upside some saw him falling into the second round.
As it turned out, Montréal picked up the talented forward at #48 overall. Perhaps if he had played all season in North America his stock would have been higher. The young Czech flashed his great hands and speed at the World Juniors and in the OHL, and also cleared up unfounded concerns with an intelligent two-way game, showing that his diligence and commitment to defense is not be a problem in the slightest, despite reports earlier in the year from the Czech media that this could be an issue. The Litvinov native had the option to cross the pond and head to the OHL with Hamilton Bulldogs to start last season season, but chose to stay in his hometown, mainly due to his coach, triple gold club member Jiří Šlégr, and only came to North America after the World Juniors.
“I think the main reason (for staying) was the coach there, Jiří Šlégr, he told me he would give me a lot of opportunities, so I wanted to stay.”
As it turned out, he was arguably not afforded these opportunities. While Litvinov were sitting second to bottom in the Extraliga table at the point the talented Canadiens draftee departed across the pond, Myšák mainly played a 3rd line role, with occasional second power-play time. He should certainly have been playing more.
Some scouts criticised his skating at times in his draft year, but there is no doubting his speed, and the young Czech forward sees that area as one of his best attributes, alongside his hockey IQ.
“(The best attributes of) my game? I think I am a quick skater, and a smart player, they would be the two.”
He does note however that in terms of areas he wants to improve on the process behind his skating is important to him.
“My shooting could be better… and maybe my skating technique too.”
Considering his speed and ability to carve through the neutral zone and beat defensemen, if he can manage to make his stride cleaner while also getting more power on his release then he would be hard to contain for any NHL defenseman in a few years, just like the man he patterns his game on, and his favourite player of all time.
“I try to play like Dylan Larkin, I think he is a player like me, so I am trying to play like him… but of course I had a favourite player… Jaromír Jágr.”
The injection of electric skill Myšák bring to the Canadiens prospect pool should excite the entire fanbase. He was – frankly – a steal where he was taken. Some teams may have been put off by both his size, his inconsistency, and the fact he has not “lit it up” at any level since leaving the Czech u-19 league… but if you want a taste of what he can do go back and watch his performance vs men in the Extraliga relegation round last year. His five goals and nine points in just six games kept his home-town club in the top tier.
His future might lie at wing instead of down the middle, but not so far down the line he could foreseeably bring a serious offensive punch to Montréal as a legitimate first line, two-way forward capable of ~60 points a season with good defensive play.
*this interview took place at the 2020 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic*
Check out our scouting report on Myšak for more details on his skill-set.
Interview post written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alexander on Twitter, his handle is @Avappleyard.