On Thursday, the Detroit Red Wings announced that the team signed defenseman Filip Hronek to a three-year, entry-level contract.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 14, 2016
Hronek, 18, was selected by the Red Wings 53rd overall at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. In two seasons with HC Hradec Králové of the Czech Extraliga, Hronek appeared in 41 games, tallying 4 assists, 24 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating. In the NHL’s Central Scouting Service mid-term rankings of all European skaters, Hronek was the 10th ranked player. By the time the final rankings were released, Hronek moved up to 8th place and was the top-ranked defenseman.
After the draft, the club’s director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright spoke highly of the 6-foot, 163-pound defenseman during an interview with MLive.com. “We had him extremely high,” he said. “He’s a very good skater, has very good hockey sense, a very good puck-mover. He can run a power play. He plays with a little bit of a bite. He’s not the biggest guy, which is a little bit of a downside, but everything else he did well for us to not overlook.”
The Red Wings received the 53rd overall pick, used to select Hronek, as part of the trade that sent Pavel Datsyuk’s contract to the Phoenix Coyotes, in a deal made on the opening day of the draft.
On June 28, the Czechoslovakian-born blue liner was selected by the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit with the 14th overall pick in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft. With the move to Saginaw next season, Hronek will begin to adapt his game to playing on a smaller ice surface and life in North America, as he does not currently speak English.
Hronek will also benefit from playing close to Detroit, with Saginaw located just over 100 miles away.