It’s that time of year again! We’re less than a month away from the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, on Thursday, July 7. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be picking at #6 and #12.
Team: HC Skoda Plzen (Czech Extraliga)
Date of Birth: Nov. 28, 2003
Birthplace: Klatovy, Czech Republic
Weight: 190 lbs
Ranked #6 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #2 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #11 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #7 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #5 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #6 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #4 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #5 by SPORTSNET
Ranked #6 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #11 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #7 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #6 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #3 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #7 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Games Played: 29
Jiricek is billed as a steady, all-around, two-way defenseman who can contribute on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice. At just 18 years old, he already has an NHL frame, and will only fill it out more as he acclimates to the NHL. By all accounts, he is a great skater for his size and has a high level of individual skill. Alex Hobson of the Hockey Writers has made a comparison to Detroit’s Moritz Seider. If so, sign me up for Jiricek at #6.
He first appeared on scouts’ radar last year as a 17-year-old, playing in his country’s professional league as well as the World Juniors, where he was named one the tournaments’ best players.
He got off to a strong start this year with his professional team, scoring 11 points in 29 games before heading to Alberta to take place in the World Juniors once again for Czechia.
Unfortunately, a knee injury in the first game of the (eventually postponed) World Juniors ended his season. He underwent surgery in January and has just recently returned to action, and will most likely be back on the ice when the World Juniors pick up again later this summer. Currently he is projected to be a top ten pick, and could very well be there at #6 unless teams like Arizona (losing Chycrun), Seattle (needs franchise Dman) or Philadelphia (needs toughness) opt to go defense with their picks.
Jiricek is arguably the best defenseman in this class. He’s close to an NHL-ready right-shot defenseman with size, a bomb of a shot and big hit ability. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
He is a talented and creative offensive presence from the back end who possesses good size and mobility, allowing him to push the issue in the offensive zone. He isn’t afraid to attempt high-risk passes and he identifies his options in an efficient manner in order to find success on those plays. Jiricek’s shot has also grown into a decent weapon and his one-timer can beat goaltenders from the point.
A big-bodied defender, Jiricek doesn’t shy away from physical play either and will step up to finish a big hit in the neutral zone when he sees an opportunity. He will have to continue to refine his decision-making process in terms of when to step up and be aggressive but his overall defensive game has shown improvement throughout the year. He has continued to show progress in the way that he establishes body position to box out in front of the net and engage in battles along the wall, and that should help him make the adjustment to the next level. - Dobber Prospects
His main offensive capability was more from a stationary position at the point, but as he has recovered from his injury, he has opened up to being more mobile in the zone and taking advantage of the larger ice surface overseas.
Defensively, the 18-year-old is known to play a more man-to-man style and use his height and reach to close out gaps effectively, and is certainly not afraid from getting down and dirty in his own end. He projects to be a confident defenseman that could play in all situations and be damn good at it. - Broad Street Hockey