Prospect Report: Jan Mysak
Jan Mysak is one of the most versatile, mature, and skilled forwards available in this draft. The 6 foot, 176 pound Czech Republic native spent his youth playing for his hometown organization, HC Litvinov, eventually working his way up to the pro ranks at just 16 years old. He played 31 games in the Czech Extraliga in his D-1 season, and looked like he belonged there. It’s worth noting that Mysak is on the younger side of this draft class, as he doesn’t turn 18 until late June. Mysak started this season with HC Litvinov and performed well, despite an unremarkable statline. After a dominant WJC performance, he decided to come to North America to play in the OHL. He was likely looking forward to playing alongside countryman Jan Jenik on the Hamilton Bulldogs, but Jenik suffered a season ending injury prior to Mysak’s arrival. With Jenik’s injury, the Bulldogs had a massive hole to fill. Luckily for them, Mysak was more than up to the task.
From the moment he came to the OHL, Mysak was dominant. He was instantly the number one center on the Bulldogs, playing big minutes at all strengths, including tons of PK time, where he was one of the best penalty killers I’ve ever seen. Spending two years playing professional hockey against men created a type of defensive presence rarely seen in prospects this young. He’s always hounding the puck carrier with endless stick checks, and is able to read plays and jump into lanes so well. His motor is nonstop, no matter which zone he’s playing in. He was also well above average in the faceoff circle. While instantly becoming one of the top defensive forwards in the OHL, he also got off to a hot start offensively. In his first 15 games, he had 12 goals. A lot of people expected Mysak to be primarily feeding Kaliyev, but he was taking over games on his own. He finished the year with 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points in 22 games. 2 of his goals were short handed, and only one was an empty netter. The statline is already impressive, but the ways in which Mysak actually scored those goals are even more impressive.
He’s a fantastic four way skater, with quick feet, a beautiful stride, and breakaway speed. He was able to knife through defense schemes in the OHL like they were nothing, and he could be counted on to carry the puck into the zone in any situation. He’s so good at entering the zone with his speed and ability to change directions, and is extremely agile in tight coverage. Some of his best rushes this season even came on the penalty kill, like this one:
His feet start moving so quickly, and by the time he’s taken four strides, he’s already got the defense beat. He keeps his feet moving all the way to the net, and buries a slick backhander. Mysak is best at his top speed, and he’s so hard to defend when he reaches it. It makes him a weapon on the penalty kill:
With his seemingly limitless motor, defensemen never get a break when Mysak is on the ice. His beautiful goal from the WJC is a prime example:
If you pay attention to the beginning of the clip, Mysak is hounding the puck carrier, and is the one who forces the bad pass. Once Mysak’s teammate gives him the puck, he’s gone. His feet move so quickly, and he’s able to reach his top speed in only a few strides. Once he enters the zone, he goes top shelf for the goal. You can’t really ask for a better shift.
As a playmaker, I’m confident in saying that Mysak is above average, but he really doesn’t have the dynamic passing ability and *playmaking* vision of some of his peers. The reason I specified his playmaking vision as opposed to his overall vision, is because he can create paths to the net as well as anyone. It’s a bit odd, but it’s not really when you think about it. He’s not excellent at making plays, but he is elite at getting to the net, and that’s all vision. Mysak can knife through coverage so well, and has that “screw it, I’m just gonna score” attitude. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the puck to the goal, and he’s elite at protecting it. He’s got a pair of dynamic hands, and they can match his speed perfectly fine. He uses a long stick, and likes to hold the puck out wide when carrying it:
Even though he’s not the biggest guy, he’s able to keep the puck much further away from his body than the average player his size. He’s also deceivingly strong, and has no problem fighting off checkers using his body, even back in the Extraliga:
Finally, I’m going to get into the premier aspect of Mysak’s game, his shooting. Mysak is an A+ shooter, with the ability to score from both in tight and distance. He’s got a quick and deceptive release, with a true goal scorer’s ability to pick his spots. He’s also got a strong one timer, and an excellent backhand. Mysak can be a triggerman on the power play, but he’s a very effective scorer at 5 on 5 too. With the way he’s able to carve paths to the net, he gets loads of opportunities. I’d categorize him as a volume shooter too, as Mysak won’t wait around for the perfect shot. He likes to get as many pucks on net as possible, and it just so happens that most of them are dangerous chances. Here’s one of my favorite goals of his:
He’s entering the zone on the forecheck, and happens to get a lucky bounce right to him. With little hesitation, Mysak blends his release into a few stickhandles and flings the puck into the back of the net. This next clip is my favorite highlight of Mysak from this season, and I think it really shows what kind of player he can be at the next level:
The way he took the puck around the first defenseman, stepped past the second, and buried the puck is elite.
Mysak is already an incredible prospect, both offensively and defensively. If I had to pick a true dark horse to play in the NHL next year, it would be him. His game is so mature for a player his age, and with his aforementioned late birthday, he could be primed for a massive D+1 season. I see Mysak as a Ryan Kesler type of player, and every team should be looking to add a prospect like him to their prospect pool come draft day. Mysak is a clear top 15 pick in this draft, and it would be crazy if he lasts longer than that.