Devils Draft Series: Jan Mysak, Two-Way Czech Forward

Jan Mysak is one of the best prospects to come out of the Czech Republic in recent years. (Photo by Hockey Herald)

Profile

Jan Mysak is a 17-year-old who was born in June of 2002, making him one of the youngest prospects in the draft. He is listed as a centerman but may project as a left-wing at the next level. The left-handed shot stands at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, and is a native of the Czech Republic. He played his whole junior career there in HC Litvinov’s system before making the mid-season move to the OHL. The final 2020 Draft Prospect Rankings showed him no love, as he ranked 28th among North American skaters.

The Statistics

Mysak started his junior hockey career as a 13-year-old in the Czech under-16 league. He played parts of three seasons in the league, compiling 155 points (102 goals) in 61 games. This point per game average ranks ninth in league history (5,017 players), and ahead of the likes of David Pastrnak and Filip Zadina. 

He made the move to the Czech under-18 league and spent parts of two seasons there, racking up 63 points in 40 games. After this, he played shortly in both the under-19 and under-20 leagues before making the move to the top professional league in the Czech Republic.

He played two seasons with HC Litvinov’s top team, where he compiled 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 57 games. This season specifically, he had five goals and four assists in 26 games, an improvement on his seven points in 31 games the previous season. For comparison, this point per game average this season was better than the likes of Jiri Hudler, Pavel Zacha, and Filip Zadina in their draft-minus-one seasons.

Mysak made the transition to the OHL mid-season. He played for a struggling Hamilton Bulldogs’ team, where he still put up formidable numbers. In 22 games before the play stoppage, he tallied 15 goals and 10 assists. He has also represented the Czech Republic in both the 2020 World Junior Championships (WJC) and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In the WJC he tallied two points in five games. And in the Hlinka Cup, he served as the team’s alternate captain and had two goals in four games. 

Mysak’s Scouting Report

Strengths

Mysak has an extremely polished game for a 17-year-old. His skating is strong. He does have a bit of an award stride, but it works. His straight-line and top speed is great, and his acceleration is superb. He also is a player with a great hockey sense and IQ/intelligence. These aspects help his game in numerous different areas.

His defensive abilities, for a 17-year-old, are very mature. He relies on that great hockey-IQ to help him with his positioning and defensive awareness. From watching the film, you can also tell Mysak always gives 100%, and his motor runs high in his own end. These strong defensive aspects, as well as his skating ability, make him a great penalty killer.

Offensively, his shot is great. Both his release and accuracy are well above average. His goal-scoring is the staple of his offensive game. Mysak is also an extremely versatile player, as he’s a center but also excels playing the wing. At the next level, he will be able to serve on both the penalty kill and a second-unit power play presence.

Weaknesses

Mysak has a few different areas that need improvement: his playmaking, physicality, and strength. By no means is he a bad playmaker; his abilities in this area are right around average. He has great vision and awareness to be well above average in this area, but his passing is what hinders him in this area and does need improvement.

Mysak does need to get stronger too. He is only 17 years old, so there is no doubt he will. And by getting stronger, not only will his shoot and skating improve even more, but winning puck battles and other areas defensively will get better. 

Additionally, his overall offensive upside seems to be a bit limited. His strongest aspect in this area is his goal-scoring, and I would not even categorize it as elite. His playmaking, as mentioned, does need work and for that reason his ceiling may be limited, which is a concern.

Projection

Mysak is an interesting player to project. For me, he projects out as a top-nine forward, with top-six upside. This upside is somewhat limited due to the question marks surrounding his offensive game. I comfortably see him as a third-liner who can provide depth scoring, along with a distinct prowess on the penalty kill, and second power play unit upside. 

As a 17-year-old, Mysak has at least two, but more likely three years until he makes a meaningful contribution to any organization. Despite this, he should still be regarded as a first-round -pick. Expect him to be selected in the mid-20s range.

Fit With the Devils

Mysak is a guy that does not have the upside like some other prospects in the first round. And although regarded as more of a goal-scorer, I feel as if the Devils should pursue other options given his lower ceiling, specifically surrounding his offense. 

Additionally, Mysak would only be a viable selection if the Devils were to trade back in round one, or if one of the team’s first-round picks falls in the 20s. For me, the Devils should focus on players with more upside and a more developed offensive game. 

Ranking of Evaluated Prospects

1. Alexis Lafrenière (no profile will be released)

2. Tim Stützle (05/07/2020)

3. Quinton Byfield (05/08/2020)

4. Marco Rossi (04/30/2020)

5. Lucas Raymond (04/28/2020)

6. Jamie Drysdale (05/01/2020)

7. Alexander Holtz (04/29/2020)

8. Cole Perfetti (05/06/2020)

9. Yaroslav Askarov (05/05/2020)

10. Anton Lundell (05/11/2020)

11. Seth Jarvis (05/13/2020)

12. Jake Sanderson (05/04/2020)

13. Dawson Mercer (05/16/2020)

14. Noah Gunler (05/19/2020)

15. Rodion Amirov (05/12/2020)

16. Jack Quinn (05/09/2020)

17. Kaiden Guhle (05/31/2020)

18. Dylan Holloway (05/14/2020)

19. Connor Zary (05/15/2020)

20. Jacob Perreault (05/26/2020)

21. Maverik Bourque (05/20/2020)

22. Hendrix Lapierre (05/21/2020)

23. Lukas Reichel (05/18/2020)

24. Jan Mysak (Today)

25. William Wallinder (05/23/2020)

26. John-Jason Peterka (05/28/2020)

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