Prospects News & Rumors: Hampl, Kral & Bjorklund

The Saint John Sea Dogs receive a commitment from one of their prospects. The Toronto Maple Leafs have loaned a prospect overseas to continue his development and we take a look at a goalie who could make some noise down the road in our Prospect of the Day.

Sea Dogs Receive Commitment From Hampl

The Saint John Sea Dogs are gaining another player for the 2020-21 season as it was confirmed that defenseman Jan Hampl will join the team. The 2020 NHL Draft-eligible player is currently ranked 108th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

The native of Kolin, Czech Republic spent this past season playing for Bili Tygri Liberec U20 where he managed to score 2 goals and added 5 assists for 7 points in 23 games. He also represented his country internationally but was held pointless in 22 games.

Hampl will have a great chance to learn under some other really solid defensemen on the Sea Dogs’ back end. William Villeneuve and Charlies Desroches, both eligible to be drafted in 2020, had great seasons and will almost certainly hear their names called on draft day. Hampl may not be one that will contribute much on offense, but he is great at clearing the front of his net and caausing havoc in the corners.

Maple Leafs Reportedly Loan Prospect Kral Overseas

There is a rumor going around that the Maple Leafs are going to loan defenseman Filip Kral to HC Prerov of the Czech2 league. Kral was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the fifth round, 149th overall, in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Kral spent this past season playing for the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League (WHL) where he managed to score 12 goals and added 37 assists for 49 points in 53 games. Throughout his three-season career in the WHL, he managed to score 31 goals and added 89 assists for 120 points in 154 games.

Since joining the WHL three seasons ago, Kral has been a solid two-way defenseman. With the puck on his stick, he makes a great first outlet pass to his forwards and is often seen jumping into the rush. With his ability to contribute on a nightly basis, he has the chance to quickly rise up the Maple Leafs’ prospect pipeline and could be a great option in the near future.

Prospect of the Day – Garin Bjorklund

For our Prospect of the Day, we will be taking a look at goaltender Garin Bjorklund. Currently ranked fifth amongst North American goalies by NHL Central Scouting, he had a solid season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. The native of Grande Prairie, Alberta suited up in 28 games for the Tigers where he managed to post a record of 20-5-1 to go along with a 2.91 goals-against average and a save percentage of .897.

Bjorklund has great athleticism that he displays on a nightly basis. If he is caught out of position, he can sprawl out and make a highlight-reel save with ease. He is great at tracking pucks through traffic and is not afraid to play the puck when it comes near his net. Even if a forward is pressuring him, he is still able to make a heads-up play to clear the puck from danger.

Garin Bjorklund displays his athleticism on a nightly basis. (Erica Perreaux/Lethbridge Hurricanes)

Our own Eugene Helfrick believes Bjorklund has what it takes to become an NHL starter.

“That being said, Bjorklund has the build and potential of an NHL starter. As he continues to get more and more playing time with Medicine Hat during the 2020-21 season, we will see if he has what it takes to handle a starting workload. If he does, then in a few years he could be ready to take on an AHL stint and from there, anything can happen.”

Time will tell whether or not Bjorklund can develop his skills and make the jump to the pro level, but his skills are very promising. The team that calls his name on draft day will be adding a very interesting prospect to their pipeline.