All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Tomas Hertl (C)
Height: 6’2 Weight: 198 Shoots: Left
Team: Slavia Praha (CZE)
Country: Czech Republic
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 among European skaters
What kind of player is he?
Hertl’s an offensively gifted player with a number of appealing tools. He’s coming off a great season with Slavia Praha HC where he scored 12 goals and 25 points in 38 games as a rookie and was a leader for the Czech Republic in the 2012 World Juniors, scoring three goals and five points in six contests.
Look for Hertl to be taken in the latter half of the first round or early in the second round and remain with Slavia Praha for the 2012-13 campaign. A couple seasons might pass before he makes his NHL debut, but the team that drafts him could end up with a top six forward.
“One of the few bright spots for HC Slavia Praha, Hertl led all rookie scorers in the Extraliga, the top Czech men’s league. His unique brand of offensive fortitude coupled with his strong character and relentless work ethic makes him a very sought after prospect.
“He refuses to give up regardless of the score. His footwork is his biggest liability and if he can make adjustments to his skating technique he has the potential to be a top-six forward at the NHL level.” — David Burstyn, McKeen’s Hockey
More draft profiles:
Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.
Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.
With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.
Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.
Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.
It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.
Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.