Filip Chlapik may not be one of the most popular names in the upcoming draft, but he's certainly one of the more intriguing prospects on the board.
Place of Birth: Praha, CZE
Heigth: 6’1" Weight: 183 lbs
There are concerns about Chlapik's skating, which is always a red flag when discussing prospects. He doesn't possess the gift of speed, although scouts seem to disagree with the severity of his skating woes. It's clear from the footage that he's not exactly a speedster, however he's no slouch in that department either. Fortunately, skating can be improved, as was evidenced by Mark Stone's turnaround in that department, however it's definitely a legitimate issue to keep in mind.
As for his strengths, there are several. In his first year of North American hockey Chlapik has cemented himself as a potential first-round pick. He has a quick release, which makes up for a rather average wrist and slap shot. His 33 goals is evidence to the speed of his release.
Scouts are quick to point out his fantastic vision, as well as Chlapik's penchant for setting up his teammates with great passing. His stickhandling abilities in tight quarters were on display all season, as was his hockey IQ. Essentially, he's a well rounded player that did a great job adjusting to hockey in North America. He still has room for improvement, which points to untapped potential. On the other side of the puck, Chlapik has proven to be a stalwart presence for the Islanders, thanks to his defensive awareness.
His biggest weakness would probably be considered his skating or more specifically the lack of high end speed. Is strong enough on his skates, but isn’t overly fast or quick. If he could improve his capability to get off the mark a bit more quickly he would become that much more dangerous.
There are certainly areas of Chlapik’s game that need improvement, but overall he has been a very pleasant surprise coming overseas to play in the QMJHL. It’s hard to argue with the point totals that he’s put up in his rookie season while adjusting to the North American style of game. Perhaps the scariest thing for opponents is that there is room to enhance the offensive toolset that he possesses.
His hockey IQ and defensive awareness make him a fairly safe bet and if the offensive areas of the game continue to improve, he will have every chance to be a top six forward in the NHL. He is a Tier 3 prospect that should go either late in the first round or early in the second round.
"Filip is a very good skater with good vision and puck skills," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "He always seems to be in the right position on the ice both with and without the puck, he can jump on loose pucks and transition quickly. He's got a good combination of size, skating and hockey sense."
Future Considerations: N/A
Hockey Prospect: N/A
Craig Button: 30th
Central Scouting Service, North American Skaters: 18th
Hockey Prospectus: 31st
Realistically, his ceiling projects to be a reliable two-way centre, but he's probably best suited for a #2 or #3 spot if ever he makes it to the NHL. He played alongside Daniel Sprong for a fair amount of the regular season, which has led some to question whether or not he leeched off his Dutch teammate in terms of point production.
While he's not exactly a flashy prospect, Chlapik has shown all the signs of an well-rounded player. If his offensive prowess continues to improve, and he works on his skating, he may very well be a safe pick once the Habs take the podium for the 26th overall pick. Of course, it has to be noted that the Habs aren't in need of a defensively responsible centre at the moment.