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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Jakub Zboril

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May 12, 2015


Get to Know Jakub Zboril

Date of Birth: 2/21/97
Place of Birth: Brno, CZE
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 185 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Defenseman
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

After an impressive performance on the European stage, Jakub Zboril is making a name for himself on the North American hockey scene. He has quickly established himself as a responsible two-way defenseman who plays effectively in all situations. His intelligence and patience make him an attractive draft prospect.

Zboril developed his game via the HC Kometa Brno organization in the Czech Republic. It’s the second most successful club in the country and has shaped the young defenseman into a solid player. He started his tenure there as a 14-year-old, playing on the U18 team. At 16, he moved up to the U20. Zboril has also been part of the Czech national teams from an early age.

He joined the Saint John Sea Dogs for the 2014-15 season as a 17-year-old. He quickly earned his coach’s respect and was given a lot of responsibility early on. Despite missing eight weeks after a knee injury in January, Zboril managed to put up 33 points (13 g, 20a) in only 44 games. He maintained a solid presence on the backend during that time, as well, earning time on both the penalty kill and the power play.


What Scouts See

Elite Prospects, Joe Curtis:

Jakub Zboril is a smart, fleet-footed two-way defenseman that plays to his strengths in all three areas of the ice. While he doesn’t aim to impress, he does all of the little things right and plays with an edge. The neutral zone is his launching pad: he is able to take off into the offensive end, or backcheck quickly into his own end. Very sound positionally. Smooth skater with lots of energy to burn.

Not afraid to lay the body, or take a hit to make the play; can and will stand up for teammates. Possesses good hands and awareness on the ice, as well as a hard shot that is quite accurate. All-in-all, a complete defenseman that is relied upon to offset any oncoming attacks, as well as create chances in the opposing end.

Dobber Sports Network, Brendan Ross:

Broke out at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka tournament (5GP-4G-2A-6P), Czech defenseman Jakub Zboril has the makings of an offensive defenseman. He is a creative passer and displays inspiring four-way mobility offering good offensive zone upside. Zboril has struggled with his game-to-game consistency and will need to continue to improve on his defensive play but he mixes his offensive tools and physicality too well to not be considered a first round talent.

The rookie import shows an ability to play a North American style combining grit, mobility and a boomer of a shot. He’s missed some time in his draft year to injury but Zboril has notched nine goals and 23 points in only 34 QMJHL games.

What BSN Avalanche Sees

Poised and responsible, Zboril epitomizes the two-way defenseman. He is a fluid skater with enough speed to join the rush and still get back in time to thwart a scoring chance in the event of a turnover. He has a very high IQ and sees the ice well. He’s positionally sound and uses his body to separate skaters from the puck and win battles along the boards. He has a wicked pass that almost always hits the tape; unfortunately, he’s playing at a level in which the recipients of said passes often cannot handle them. Putting him with higher quality teammates will only increase his effectiveness, especially when transitioning to offense.

Zboril is not afraid to pinch and picks his moments well. His skating and puck control allows him to move into the offensive zone, while eluding opposing players, and generate scoring chances. Defensively, he makes it look easy by anticipating what his opponent will do and choosing the technique that will yield the best results, whether that is playing the body, interrupting the pass, or forcing a turnover. He’s calm under pressure and patient on the puck, thriving in all three zones and producing in all situations. He’s an incredibly well-rounded player.

There are very few holes in Zboril’s game. There is one area, however, that could use some work: consistency. When he’s off his game, he is really off. He appears overwhelmed and lacks confidence, further degrading his performance. He plays as if he is a step behind, making unwise decisions that end in scoring chances and goals against, time in the box, and being easily beaten by crafty forwards with strong puckhandling skills.

It’s reasonable to believe that this will level out as he gets more time on North American ice, though. While his adjustment has been quick and impressive, he still has moments in which he seems to be reverting back to the European game.


NHL Potential

If Zboril continues his development trajectory and fills out his frame, he will make a solid addition to an NHL blueline. He has the allure of a young player who is so well-rounded that he can be comfortably used at any time in a game, opening the door for him to establish himself as a blueline regular with second pairing ceiling. Unless his play completely drops off, you should expect to see him in the NHL.

Expected Draft Position

It’s really anyone’s guess at where on the board Zboril will be drafted. As Zboril’s exposure has increased, his draft position has risen, topping out at 16th for all skaters. Zboril most likely will be selected later in the first round, closer to the low- to mid-20s, though we could see him taken as high as 12th or as low as the second round.

How Does Zboril Fit in Avalanche Organization

Zboril could be the steal of the draft. As he’s spent most of his developmental years across the Atlantic, many teams may pass on him as a player with just too many unknowns. While it would be questionable to take him at 10th given the organization’s needs and depth of the draft, Colorado should absolutely snatch him up if he is, by some strange twist of events, still available at 40th. Even with the depth the Avs have in defensive prospects, Zboril is too impressive to let slip by. His poise, intelligence, and mobility fit right into the Avalanche mold.


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