2022-23 Team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Date of Birth: Feb. 4, 2005
Place of Birth: Level Green, Pennsylvania
Height: 6-foot-3, Weight: 212 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: first-year draft eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters): 66th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 117th
- FC Hockey: 124th
- Daily Faceoff: 108th
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 155th
- Smaht Hockey: 95th
- The Athletic (Pronman): 79th
- The Hockey Writers (Horn): 116th
Every year in the later part of the drafts, teams hope to improve the depth of their prospect pipeline. Sometimes, you get lucky and find a gem, a la Mark Stone, in the sixth round. But most of the time, it’s where an organization finds a future bottom-six forward or bottom-pair defender.
Related: 2023 THW NHL Draft Guide
One prospect that fits that criterion is Brandon Svoboda, who totaled 16 goals and 26 points in 59 games for the Youngstown Phantoms in the United States Hockey League (USHL). The thing that stands out about him is his size. At 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, it’s hard to miss him when he’s on the ice. And he seems to have gotten bigger, as he measured at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds at one point during the USHL season.
Players Svoboda’s size don’t usually have much offensive upside, and you’d think that by his point totals too, but he has some tools to work with. He skates well for a power-forward type and still has room to improve as he matures and develops in his post-draft years. He has a decent shot and isn’t afraid to make a power move toward the net when he has the puck on his stick. Here’s one example of him driving toward the net (without the puck) and converting on a pass with a quick release for a goal:
Svoboda will get to high-danger areas and use his frame to screen goalies, something he’ll find useful in the NCAA and as he moves up the pro ranks. While his skating is decent for a player his size, he must work on it at Boston University. He doesn’t have great acceleration, which could be a problem if it doesn’t improve over time.
It will be interesting to see what he looks like at Boston University. He didn’t play a scoring role with the Phantoms and might not right away at BU. But there’s enough in his toolkit to suggest he might have more offensive upside if given the opportunity.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Brandon Svoboda — NHL Draft Projection
Svoboda isn’t likely to get his name called in the top 100, but a player with his size and potential will get selected on Day 2 of the draft. I’d expect to hear his name called somewhere in the fifth round, perhaps in the later part of the fourth if a team is intrigued enough by his makeup.
“Svoboda’s above-average frame is a significant asset in his game, allowing him to shield off defenders when in possession of the puck and make a physical impact on the game. However, his shorter stride limits his acceleration compared to his peers, although he can still generate speed on the ice…” – Douglas Larson, FC Hockey
“Svoboda is an intriguing athlete. He’s 6-foot-3 and skates well with a toolkit that should work versus better players. He shows flashes of strong offensive skill. His game is quite inconsistent, though. I don’t see a ton of hockey sense in him, and his effort is just OK. If it ever clicks for him, he has potential to be a player, and thus, I think he’s worth a gamble at some point in the draft because his toolkit is rare after the top group of players.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (From “2023 NHL Draft ranking: Connor Bedard leads Corey Pronman’s tiers of the top 142 prospects” – The Athletic, 5/30/2023).
“Brandon Svoboda has a checking line forward projection, but does have the tools to be rather productive points-wise in the offensive zone. Svoboda does a good job of utilizing his frame to get past attackers, keep the puck secure and drive to the net. The Pennsylvania native played lower in the Youngstown Phantoms lineup and, as a result, was on the ice for less time compared to other Phantoms forwards who are draft eligible.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Hockey
- Size, physical makeup
- Ability to use his frame and screen goaltenders
Under Construction — Improvements to Make
- Acceleration in his skating
- Developing his offensive toolkit
Even if Svoboda adds more offensive flare to his game while in the NCAA, he likely projects as a bottom-six forward in the NHL. Still, he could be effective because of his size, especially if he refines his skating.
Risk: 2.5/5, Reward: 2.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense: 5/10, Defense: 5/10
Svoboda won the Clark Cup with the Phantoms in the USHL this past season.