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2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #14 - Jakub Zboril

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I didn't sneeze. This Czech blueliner is our next Prospect in the series - and has some very interesting comparisons to guys like Keith Yandle...

Photo courtesy of the Saint John Sea Dogs
Photo courtesy of the Saint John Sea Dogs
David Connell/Saint John Sea Dogs

Jakub Zboril

Position: Defenseman
Current Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: February 21st, 1997
Place of Birth: Brno, Czech
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 186 lbs.
Shoots: Left

This draft year has three "Can't Miss" d-men in the top ten, according to most scouts, but Zboril is an interesting possibility just outside of that group. Fast, mobile, and with excellent "hockey sense", he had a lot of success in the Czech Republic, then made the leap to the Q this season, where he put up respectable numbers in both the regular season and Saint John's brief playoff appearance.

Most scouting reports agree that Zboril has improved steadily as he's gotten more comfortable with the North American style of hockey - he might just be a sleeper pick.

Scouting Reports:

"A good two-way blue liner...plays a complete game and relies on his impressive footwork to maintain defensive coverage as well as put himself into the offensive play...has a good top speed and all-round mobility...has a dangerous point shot that is both accurate and hard...has a physical element to his game and will step up to make a hit...clears the crease and separates opponents form the puck with his body in the defensive zone...has an active stick...good upside as an all-round NHL defender." -Future Considerations

If he is able to reach his ceiling, Jakub Zboril has the potential to be a top pair defender, and power play quarterback in the NHL, though he will need some time to develop. More likely he ends up as a second pairing guy who does everything well and plays power play and penalty killing time. -Last Word On Sports

Could end up being that home-run pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Few holes in his game. A low-risk, high-reward type of player. Reminiscent style of play to that of NHL D-man Keith Yandle. - Elite Prospects

A Good Fit In Columbus?

Yeah, I think he could be. I understand why guys like Werenski and Provorov are at the top of everyone's board for defense, but I like the package Zboril brings to the table. Physical, smart, offensively skilled, and a fast skater, he's got the ability to really be a game-changer, if he can reach his potential. If Columbus fails to sign Mike Reilly, Zboril strikes me as a very solid replacement in the prospect pool.

Plus, consider the fact that Zboril is 18 - slightly younger than a lot of the guys ahead of him in the prospect pool - and that means he's doing all of this while being a little less experienced and a bit less developed than his peers. I feel like there's a lot of potential in this young man, and I'd love to see the Blue Jackets be the ones to unlock it.

Zboril in Action

Here's a vid from the Ivan Hlinka tournament last fall - I'm afraid the quality's nowhere near great, but you get a good feel for Zboril's play as he helps keep up the pressure on Team USA before eventually breaking through with a nice point shot for the goal.