Jan Myšák had a whirlwind of a season last year. It started in the Czech Extraliga, and was followed by a call-up to the senior international squad for the Karjala Cup in Finland. During that tournament, he scored his first international point with an assist. He then continued his season by leading his Czech Republic U20 team into the playoff round during the World Junior Championship, playing on the first line and leading by example as captain of the team.
After the WJC, and with the season up in the air, he chose to play with the Laval Rocket in the AHL. In the 22 games Myšák had two goals, but the season was interrupted by a concussion, and the recovery took time.
The position Myšák will play down the line is still up in the air, Trevor Timmins has said that he sees Myšák as a winger, and my contacts in the Czech Republic are still uncertain of his ability to run a power play at a high professional level.
Nevertheless, he continues to progress, benefitting from the Montreal Canadiens’ skill coahches and background staff. In a recent interview with me, he praised the support and help he got from the organization to become more professional, especially in his off-season workout regimen and the nutrition change that he says helps him become more serious. Away from the Canadiens, he also gets support from former Canadiens players Petr Svoboda and Tomáš Plekanec, something that really should benefit his further development.
Myšák’s lowest ranking was at 20 this year, and the highest came in at 11 by three of the panellists. The community as a whole had Myšák at 14, with Brook ahead of him. He the last prospect to receive a vote in the 20s.
Scott: “I had him lower based on where I saw him at the AHL level. I think he has a ton of potential, but he has some work in front of him to reach that.
I saw a lot I liked, just not consistently enough at that level. With a likely full OHL year ahead of him, I think he’s going to grow a lot and likely make me eat my words before too long if he plays up to the level he’s capable of.”
Top 25 Under 25 History
It is Myšák’s second year on the ballot. Ranked 18th a season ago, the strong WJC and his stint in the AHL made him jump up a couple of places, especially the World Juniors performance. Last year the votes fell in a large range, whereas this year they have been consolidated into a more even spread.
History of #12
What stood out this year compared to last was Myšák’s leadership. A season ago he was a player of skill, according to the draft profiles. In the past year he took more control of his game and his teams, and the player that gives everything for his club stands out. He carried a bruised and battered Czech team through an extremely well-played game in the group stage against Russia, serving as the beating heart of the squad.
His skills are still there, even if it is another talent that was showcased in the last season. The forward can play both sides of the puck and his versatility, making him a coach’s dream. Combining a good understanding of the game lets him play a smart defence and find open spaces in the offensive zone, space that he will use to release a good wristshot.
The jump from the Extraliga to the AHL was a difficult one for Myšák. He struggled a bit with the speed and intensity of the game. The more physical game was an eye-opener for him, and it speaks to his character that he is willing to learn and build from the experience. He has built up muscle and is working on his balance to counter the difficult transition to the North American pro game.
While his hockey IQ is good, it is still unknown if he can lead a top-six line. However, he has the tools to become a bottom-six player who can cut out his own role in a team to have a positive impact in a lesser role.
His skating is average. With adequate training and support it might end up better than that, but if it remains on the lower part of the spectrum, the question is whether he will need to alternate his playing style when the surrounding players are overall faster and tougher than in his present.
From last year, I would say that Myšák’s projection has climbed in the sense that he’s emerged as the type of player whose main goal is to see his team succeed. In some ways that has limited his progress considering he was known for his talent in his draft year, with no limit placed upon his ceiling, and now appears to be more of a role player. He has a lot of tools, including a drive to develop, that will be more suited to a bottom-six player than a key offensive contributor.
If he can get his tools together, especially the skating, he will have a good chance at a role with an NHL team. Given his emergence as a leader, he could be a player who will strengthen a team in a playoff run; someone better than the sum of his parts.
While still being a young player — one one of the youngest from his draft class — it will be interesting to see how he will grow over the next season. If all goes to plan, the Czech forward will lead from the front, and the development might create a player similar to Artturi Lehkonen down the line.
Anton Rasegård and Patrik Bexell speaks about the difficulty of ranking NCAA prospects, Luke Tuch, Josh Brook, and Jan Myšák: