Jakub Zboril THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 2/21/1997
Place of birth: Brno, Czech Republic
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 185 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2015
THW The Next Ones Rankings (February): 28
THW War Room Rankings (March): 25
HockeyProspect.com (February): 21
Last Word On Sports (February): 20
Craig Button (March): 20
CS Final Rankings for North American skaters (January): 11
After becoming the 5th overall selection in the CHL Import Draft by the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, Jakub Zboril decided to hop the pond and develop his game further in North America. The transition hasn’t been seamless like we’ve seen from other European prospects, however, with every game Zboril has gotten better and better.
Along with Zboril, the Sea Dogs have another budding defenseman in Thomas Chabot, who has been able to take some of the pressure and workload off Zboril. Hailing from the Czech Republic, Jakub couples a gritty style of play with a finesse game. He makes the best of his positioning, lining up a player and delivering a heavy bodycheck. Defensively, his game has ebbed and flowed over the course of the season. Sometimes you’ll see him outwork opponents along the boards and keep them from getting in close to his goalie, and other nights you’ll see Zboril routinely get beat one-on-one. It’s an aspect of his game which he considers he needs more work. The good thing is, each game he’s gotten better in his own zone, but there are times where he could still use some help buffering his defensive game.
Offensively, Zboril enjoys joining the rush and creating opportunities on the attack. His skating is above average, but not overly fluid. I’ve noticed his shot almost every game I’ve seen him in this season. He shoots hard and accurate. He picks his corners well and holds onto the puck until he finds an open lane to shoot. Saint John has used Zboril on the powerplay for his blistering slapshot, which has upped his value even more. It looks as though the Sea Dogs will have blueliners selected in the 1st round of the NHL draft this year.
Where Will He End Up In June:
Chances are Jakub Zboril will be taken in the later part of the 1st round between 23-28.
“A good two-way blue liner…plays a complete game and relies on his impressive footwork to maintain defensive coverage as well as put himself into the offensive play…has a good top speed and all-round mobility…has a dangerous point shot that is both accurate and hard…has a physical element to his game and will step up to make a hit…clears the crease and separates opponents form the puck with his body in the defensive zone…has an active stick…good upside as an all-round NHL defender. (December 2014)”
“Broke out at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka tournament (5GP-4G-2A-6P), Czech defenseman Jakub Zboril has the makings of an offensive defenseman. He is a creative passer and displays inspiring four-way mobility offering good offensive zone upside. Zboril has struggled with his game-to-game consistency and will need to continue to improve on his defensive play but he mixes his offensive tools and physicality too well to not be considered a first round talent. The rookie import shows an ability to play a North American style combining grit, mobility and a boomer of a shot. He’s missed some time in his draft year to injury but Zboril has notched nine goals and 23 points in only 34 QMJHL games.”
Brendan Ross – Dobber Sports
“Along with Pavel Zacha, Zboril is part of one of the best Czech draft classes in years, as the country has really turned around their hockey program following a number of dark years. Zboril was part of the silver medal winning squads at the 2013 U18 World Championship last spring, and the Ivan Hlinka this past summer. Drafted 5th overall in the CHL Import Draft, Zboril has put up 22 points in 33 games for the Saint John Sea Dogs Zboril is living up to the hype and looks like the total package on the blueline this season. He is an excellent powerplay quarterback, with strong poise with the puck and good vision and passing skill. He also has a rocket of a slap shot, and has already scored three goals. Zboril has good skating skill and his excellent pivots, edgework, and agility allow him to cover a ton of ice. He’s also not afraid to be physical in the defensive end of the ice.“
Ben Kerr – Last Word On Sports
Zboril has played for the Czech Republic nine times and secured two silver medals along the way.
Risk: 1/5 Reward: 4/5
1st or 2nd pairing two-way defenseman that can play powerplay or penalty kill.
Keeping players to the perimeter
Patience with the puck
Joining the rush
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Adding muscle to his lanky frame
Tinkering with his skating to be more fluid
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 6/10 Defensive: 6/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– NHL comparison: Dan Hamhuis
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph