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
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.
Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.
So far, it shows, too.
The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.
There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:
Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week
Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.