2021-22 Team: USNTDP Juniors (USHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 3, 2004
Place of Birth: Parker, CO, USA
Ht: 6-foot, Wt: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
If Marek’s last name rings a bell, it is because he is the son of former Colorado Avalanche 50-goal scorer Milan Hejduk. Like Jorian Donovan had in Shean, Marek grew up around an NHL player and was privy to NHL locker rooms and the knowledge of a veteran that played over 1000 games and scored 375 goals and 805 points before he retired in 2014. In fact, it was Milan who coached him throughout his youth career with the Colorado Thunderbirds.
“I thought it was great, I loved it. I think he was a great coach, I thought he did a great job. It’s just amazing to have that opportunity of your dad coaching you. I can learn so much from him.”
Although he was on the young side at the time, Marek also remembers being at the ceremony for his dad’s 1000th game in the NHL.
“I was pretty young, but I do remember his 1000th game,” Marek recalled. “We were at it and it was truly special, the whole ceremony. I remember a few games here and there but other than that ceremony, it was a long time ago and I wish I could remember more.”
While not nearly the prolific goalscorer his dad was, he has several qualities that will make NHL teams hover over his name for a while when they are making their selections in the later rounds. In addition to his strong, dependable two-way game, he has got a superb work ethic and a jump in his step when it comes to acceleration. Like Darren Helm of the Detroit Red Wings of old, he can influence the game with his speed and penalty-killing prowess as well. He also can burn defenders and goaltenders with a quick deke, as he’s shown to have some quick hands in tight quarters.
Committed to Harvard University in 2023-24, Marek will be taking a different path to the pro game than Milan did. Instead of playing in Czechia, he will be taking the NCAA route before potentially debuting in the NHL. Surprisingly, despite lacking the goalscoring potential Milan had, he might be drafted around the same time as him. Flashing back to 1994, Milan was selected 87th overall by the Quebec Nordiques. Being ranked as high as 78th (third-round) by Bob McKenzie and as low as 89th (fourth-round) by SMAHT Scouting, Marek could actually be selected in the same round as his dad. And look what Milan developed into…one of the most prolific goalscorers the Avalanche ever had. So, you never know, the team that drafts him might end up getting a steal if Marek inherited some scoring genes from his father.
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Marek Hejduk – NHL Draft Projection
Because of Hejduk’s high-energy two-way game, teams will consider taking a flyer on him somewhere in the later rounds. He won’t go undrafted, I can tell you that right now. Most outlets have him unranked, save for Bob McKenzie and SMAHT Scouting, but his game is conducive to the playoffs and that alone will end up getting him drafted at some point. Look no further than the players that are getting it done in the postseason right now to see examples of how forwards like him can positively impact a game. As such, I am going to predict he gets selected in the fourth round.
“Hejduk is a talented two-way winger who can play in any situation for the NTDP. His two-way prowess and ability to suppress the other team’s offensive attack really stands out when you watch him play. He has a great understanding of his defensive responsibilities and always knows where his assignment is while in the defensive zone.” – Austin Broad, FC Hockey
“Good speed, plucky worker. This player is probably the best representation of that utility top-9 forward the NTDP always seems to have that just sort of works and keeps plays alive and has a decent skill level but isn’t a line driver – sort of in the Patrick Moynihan mold…” – HockeyProspect.com
“…Marek is very skilled. He sees the ice really well and he has that burst of speed.” – David Clarkson, U16 Thunderbirds head coach (from ‘Indoor home rink keeps Plymouth-bound Marek Hejduk on ice during pandemic’, The Detroit News, 4/3/20)
- Two-way game
- Work ethic
- Puck handling
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Inconsistent offensive game
- Needs to have skill on his line to produce
Forwards like Hejduk will always have a place in the NHL. Just look at Helm, who was selected in the fifth round by the Red Wings in 2005. He became a very useful utility forward who could not only win draws, kill penalties and burn teams with his speed but also bring character and a workman-like attitude to the rink night-in and night-out. That could be Hejduk if he makes it to the NHL one day. He won’t ever become a high-powered scorer like his dad, but he will be a useful player on any team he makes it onto.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 6/10, Defence – 8/10
Hejduk played at the 2022 U18 World Championship for Team USA where he walked away with a silver medal around his neck. He also took part in the 2022 BioSteel All-American Game in January and was invited to participate at the 2022 NHL Draft Scouting Combine in Buffalo.
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Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.
Matthew also co-hosts The Hockey Writers Prospect Corner on YouTube.