Kraken 2022 NHL Draft Target: David Jiříček

The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery has concluded, and as predicted, the Seattle Kraken dropped one spot to fourth overall. Although it is not the outcome they were hoping for, there will be some strong talent available at that spot, including David Jiříček. Here is a look at the big, right-shot defenceman that would fill a big need for Seattle in the future.

David Jiříček Scouting Report

Jiříček is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound two-way defenceman that has shown he can compete against older competition. In 2020-21, he played his first full season in the Czechia top division for HC Plzeň suiting up for 34 regular-season games and two playoff games. Despite only being 17, he played north of 14 minutes per game most games which included some time on the power play, as he finished with three goals and nine points.

David Jiricek Team Czechia
David Jiricek, Team Czechia (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

This season, Jiříček was able to take another step forward in his development, recording 11 points, including five goals in 29 games. He was averaging around 20 minutes per game for HC Plzeň before an injury at the World Juniors wiped out his entire season. Between Dec. 12, 2021, and May. 5, 2022, he did not play a game for his team or country.

As for his overall game, Jiříček is a future top-pairing defenceman who can transition the puck well while not making mistakes. He can use his big frame to play physically and has no problem separating the opposition from the puck. What makes him such an intriguing prospect, however, is his ability to control the gap between him and the opposition. The ice is smaller in North America, so that is something he will need to adjust to before making the transition to the NHL.

Jiříček vs. Nemec

Potentially both Jiříček and Šimon Nemec will be available at fourth overall. If that happens, the Kraken need to decide which right-shot defenceman fits better. Although it will be a tough decision, the answer may be the Czechian.

Related: Kraken 2022 NHL Draft Target: Šimon Nemec

While both players fill that right-side defensive need, Jiříček looks to have a higher potential in the long run. While Nemec is the more offensive option, Jiříček is the more well-rounded prospect as his overall defensive game is stronger. They are both projected to play at the World Championship this year, which will be a good indication as to which player may have the edge when it comes to draft position.

Where Jiříček Fits with the Kraken

As mentioned, Jiříček fills a big need being a right-shot defenceman. His ability to get the puck out of the zone will be key as the Kraken gave up 669 turnovers, with over 54 percent of them being in the defensive zone. Seattle also needs right-shot defencemen, as it was clear making a left-shot defenceman play the right side was problematic for the team last season.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide

He could also help the Kraken by taking some of the burden off Adam Larsson. Last season, he averaged over 22 minutes per game. Jiříček is built for the penalty kill and could take over that top spot to give the 11-year veteran some extra rest, especially late in the season.

The way Seattle has built their prospect pool on the blue line signifies they want the left side to be the dominant offensive side while having the right side as a defensive anchor. Players like Ryker Evans and Peetro Seppälä are offensive defencemen who need an anchor partner that won’t get sucked into the play. This is the main reason why Jiříček makes the most sense. He could potentially be that for the Kraken and develop into the top-pair defenceman they need for the future.

Selecting Jiříček Could Be the Right Move

Although there may be players that are better right now than Jiříček, he has the highest potential to become one of the top shutdown defencemen in the league. Every team needs a player like MacKenzie Weegar or Jaccob Slavin to be successful, and he has that potential. If he has a strong World Championship and shows no signs of struggle from his injury, the Kraken should select him if he is available at fourth overall.

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