Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #29 Jakub Zboril

While all the talk in this upcoming draft is centred around Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, 2015 could become the year of the defenseman given the huge crop of talented CHLers available. We’ve already profiled one Saint John Sea Dog in our countdown, and today we’ll look at another: the aggressive and very well-rounded Czech import Jakub Zboril.

Bio:

  • Age: 17.57 years old at start of season. Born February 21, 1997.
  • Birthplace: Brno, Czech Republic
  • Frame: 6’1, 184 lbs
  • Position: D
  • Draft Year Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
  • Accomplishments: 2014 World U18 Championship Silver Medal, 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament Silver Medal, 2015 QMJHL All-Rookie Team

Stats:

GP ES G ES A1 ES A2 ES Pts ES Pts/GP ES GF% ES GF% Rel TmG% TmPts% AA Pts/GP EA Pts/GP Adj Pts/GP
44 3 6 5 14 0.32 N/A N/A 7.9% 20.1% 0.72 0.80 0.77
  • TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
  • TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
  • AA Pts/GP = Age adjusted points per game
  • EA Pts/GP = Era and league adjusted points per game
  • Adj Pts/GP = Age, era, and league adjusted points per game
PCS% 2014 PCS Pts/82 2014 PCS% 2015 PCS Pts/82 2015
17.6% 29.2 22.4% 23.7
PCS Most NHL GP PCS Highest Pts/GP
Scott Stevens Al Iafrate
Luke Richardson Tomas Kaberle
Ken Daneyko Scott Stevens

Scouts:

Draft rank:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect Pronman McKeen’s McKenzie Button
12 (NA) 22 20 25 38 18 14 26

From Future Considerations:

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.

From Craig Button, TSN:

Jakub is more of a puck mover and transporter to the offensive blue line but can play on the power play and contribute with a good shot. He competes physically, bears down on others, doesn’t give an inch and can be nasty as evidenced by two suspensions this season.  A top three defenceman who makes it hard on opponents.

From Curtis Joe, EliteProspects:

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.

Our Take:

Like Noah Juulsen, whom we profiled earlier in this series, Czech import Jakub Zboril is a very well-rounded player with no obvious holes in his game. He missed time due to two suspensions this season, but while playing for Saint John, he carved out a reputation as a nasty, two-way defender that’s adept in all zones that scouts say is one of the “safer” picks of the entry draft.

There’s not much to say beyond the scouting reports linked above about Zboril. He’s a good skater, a good puck handler, and a good shooter that makes a good first pass and has a good positional and physical game. Really, such a complete game is Zboril’s greatest strength as he could conceivably project to fill a variety of roles at the NHL level, depending on how he develops.

Guys comparable to Zboril are evidence of this uncertain-in-a-good-way projection, as contemporary PCS cohorts include James Wisniewski, Brent Seabrook, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Dennis Wideman, Ladislav Smid, Jakub Kindl, Rostislav Klesla, Chris Phillips, Carlo Colaiacovo, and Luca Sbisa among others. Zboril has a good skill base to build on, but really it’s anyone’s guess as to what he becomes at the NHL level.

If there’s a big concern we have with Zboril, it’s that his personal offensive totals were almost certainly inflated by a shooting percentage that’s unsustainably high. Most of Zboril’s goals came on the powerplay (as is usually the case for defensemen), but he also shot at roughly an 11% clip. In comparison, the Q’s best draft eligible offensive defender Jeremy Roy shot at just 4% on the year. Though CHL goaltending isn’t great, you shouldn’t expect to see 11% from a defenseman, eve one that can shoot the puck as we  as Zboril.

On the other hand, Zboril manufactured dangerous shots at a rate as strong as any draft-eligible QMJHL defender, pacing Roy and Baie-Comeau’s Nicholas Meloche in that regard, so we can infer that while his goal scoring was probably not sustainable, he was active on offense and as dangerous an offensive defender as any of his QMJHL peers.

Zboril’s PCS numbers aren’t fantastic either, but given such a well-rounded game, he has the potential to grow into a very steady top-4 D for the team that drafts him.