2019-20 Team: HC Energie Karlovy Vary/ HC Banik Sokolov (Loan)
Date of Birth: August 26, 2002
Place of Birth: Karlovy Vary, CZE
Ht: 6’4” Wt: 196 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 2nd (Among EU Goalies)
- Future Considerations: 91st
- Bob McKenzie, TSN: Honorable Mention (Amongst top 62 picks)
- DraftSite: 63rd
- THW Josh Bell’s February Rankings: 116th
- THW Andrew Forbes March Rankings: 96th
- THW Fisher’s Top 400 for May: 123rd
Besides Yaroslav Askarov, the 2020 goaltending class is all perplexing project players that would need plenty of development before they become close to NHL roster players. There’s a good chance that after Askarov’s selection in the first round, the next goalie won’t go until the third or fourth. The Russian prodigy cast a wide shadow over the rest of the draft-eligible European goaltenders, dominating headlines and draft hype. That left the crowd to quietly fly under the radar, and they fell in the rankings despite a solid toolkit for the NHL level. One such player is the enormous Czech, Jan Bednar.
At 16 years old, Bednar began making waves in the Euro goalie prospect circuit. He made his Czech professional debut in 2018 leading his team to a victory and a clean sheet. He’s the youngest goaltender to debut for HC Energie Karlovy Vary and to record a shutout. In his rookie season, the 6-foot-4 giant played in ten games, logging a 2.73 goals-against-average (GAA) and .917 save percentage (SV%). Considering the league averaged 2.68 goals-per-game that year, his numbers couldn’t be more impressive, especially for a player his age in a league of men.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
Unfortunately, Bednar couldn’t find the same consistency in the 2019-20 season. In a crowded Karlovy Vary net, he struggled with a 4.39 GAA and .884 SV% in 13 games. He was loaned to HC Banik Sokolov of the Chance Liga, where he boasted an equally underwhelming 3.26 GAA and .873 SV% in 24 games against weaker competition. With one more year on his contract, he’ll have another shot at repeating his rookie season with Karlovy Vary.
He’s consistently played for the Czech Republic U17 and U18 teams, logging 43 games over the past two years at the international junior level. Despite being 17 years old, he was the final goaltender cut from the Czech’s U20 World Junior Championship team. His numbers won’t jump off the page, but he’s quietly built a strong foundation to carry him through the rest of his junior career. Unfortunately, finding consistency has been his Achilles heel.
His style relies on his size more than his stature in net. He’s excellent at challenging the puck and cutting angles. You’ll rarely see him sitting anywhere other than the top of his crease when challenging a shot. He can be too quick to commit to a shooter, but his above-average reflexes and incredible lateral movement more than make up the difference. He possesses excellent vision and calmness in net, remaining square to the puck, and relying on his size to see past screens. However, his save selection and rebound control can waver, particularly on low-percentage shots.
Jan Bednar – NHL Draft Projection
Rankings have him all over the place, everywhere from high in the second round to as low as the fourth. In all likelihood, he will be taken in the third round as a low-risk, high-reward kind of pick. With multiple picks in the third round, a team like the Nashville Predators or Chicago Blackhawks could make a bid for Bednar.
Related THW Profiles
“Early in the season, his stats don’t look that great, but this is a prospect that with the right goalie coach can develop well. He has good size and mobility but plays a bit lazy. I would like to see him compete more and not just being a puck-stopper. He has the tools to become a good goalie if he learns to use his mobility and size in the right way and if he could compete more. With competitiveness, it is not just a matter of competing for loose pucks, but it is about being competitive and ready for various situations.” – Jimmy Hamrin, McKeen’s Hockey
“Enormous Czech goaltender who has shown athleticism and the ability to snuff high percentage shots. For the most part, he lets the plays come to him. Has an active stick and will advance pucks and actively handle them using his stick and paddle.” – Bill Placzek, DraftSite
- Lateral movement
- Calm under pressure
- Cutting the angle
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Too quick to drop into butterfly
- Puck movement
- Save selection
As a projected third-round pick, Bednar can’t be projected as anything above a fringe starter or back up at the NHL level. He possesses the size, the foundation and the vision to succeed, but there are plenty of points of refinement before he can make the jump towards a bonafide NHL starter.
Risk – 1.5, Reward – 3.5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltending – 7/10
Bednar was awarded the Czech Extraliga Rookie of the Year award in 2018-19, the first goalie to do so since the 2013-14 season. He was also honored as the best goaltender during the U17 Czech Republic’s gold medal victory in the European Youth Olympic Festival.
- EliteProspects Profile
- HC Energie Karlovy Vary Profile
- Interview following his professional debut with Karlovy Vary