2019-20 Team: Kingston Frontenacs (#8)
Date of Birth: August 20, 2002
Place of Birth: Ilava, Slovakia
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 181 lbs.
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 30th (among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 44th
- Craig Button (TSN): 41st
- Andrew Forbes (The Hockey Writers): 59th
- Josh Bell (The Hockey Writers): 54th
- Larry Fisher (The Hockey Writers): 29th
- Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects: 38th
It’s been a wild ride for Martin Chromiak. Coming into the 2019-20 season, he had established himself as a Slovakian prodigy. At 16 years old, he was one of the Slovakian U20 league’s highest scorers, netting 22 goals and 46 points in 39 games, and he led all Slovakians at the U18 level in international play. Yet, in what many saw as a baffling decision, he was left off the 2020 World Junior roster, despite leading the pre-tournament teams with 15 points in 14 games and playing in the nation’s top men’s league.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
With few opportunities left to make an international impression in Slovakia, Chromiak decided to come to Canada part way through the season and join the Kingston Frontenacs, who had drafted him second overall at the 2019 CHL Import Draft. There was no question that he had talent and could bring a dynamic presence to the struggling OHL team, but would his game translate from one of the weakest professional European leagues to the smaller North American ice?
The short answer is yes, very much. Chromiak’s top-tier hockey IQ and offensive instincts made the transition easy. In 28 games with the Frontenacs, he scored 11 goals and 33 points, a pace that would have made him the team’s top scorer over a full season. He clicked instantly with Shane Wright, a top prospect for the 2022 Draft, and Zaye Wisdom, a 2020-eligible player, and the trio made up one of the deadliest lines in the OHL at the end of the season.
At season’s end, Chromiak was one of the hottest draft risers, prompting some to place him as a late first-round pick. However, others have wondered if his production was simply a by-product of having a top junior talent at center. There’s no doubt that Chromiak got a boost from playing with Wright, but the opposite is also true, and the pair complemented each other perfectly. His shot and finishing ability, along with his ability to complete plays at top speed, gave the Frontenacs the final piece for a dangerous top line.
His game is not without flaws; his skating is not the smoothest, and he lacks a strong defensive presence. However, he’s shown he can bounce back from a bad play quickly and will try to make up for his mistakes. He also can quickly change direction on the fly and make tight pin-point turns, minimizing the impact of some forecheck errors. With some fine-tuning, Chromiak could be a real steal at the draft, becoming a dangerous winger if paired with the right linemate.
Other THW Profiles
Martin Chromiak – NHL Draft Projection
Chromiak has been steadily climbing the draft boards; he began the season as a third-round pick, but has since moved up through the second round and has now gained some consideration for the end of the first round. He is also one of the younger players available at the draft, as he won’t turn 18 until August, so that leaves lots of room for development.
However, his absence at the World Juniors will likely cause him to fall below where he should be drafted. Compared to Jan Mysak, another mid-season European transfer to the OHL, both players are nearly the same age, height, weight, and scored just over a point-per-game in the OHL. Yet Mysak was a member of the Czech World Junior team before coming over, and although the Czech’s were unable to capture a medal, it gave Mysak better exposure. He’s now regarded as a sure-fire first-round pick, while Chromiak will likely slip into the 20-40 range.
“This young standout is smooth-skating, powerful offensive dynamo. He is not that big of a player but he uses the size he has to his advantage in all three zones and in transition as well. What I like the most about him is his ability to cover the puck despite high pressure of opposition and his forechecking abilities as well. He drives the net hard, which will lead to a lot of net-front goals and chances in high-danger spots…Chromiak uses his best attributes to contribute both offensively and defensively while building up strong case for jump in draft rankings.” Samuel Tirpák, Dobber Prospects
“One of the draft’s youngest players, Martin Chromiak has taken a bit of a non-traditional route, playing in the Slovakian pro league to start the season before moving to the OHL in late December. As a 16-year-old last season he was one of top scorers in the Slovakian U20 league, although the league’s weakness has proven not to be a problem as he’s immediately become one of Kingston’s most valuable players.” Colin Cudmore, Silver Seven Sens
“Chromiak is a goal-scorer that can pass, bringing speed and great puck-handling skills to his game. He’s good in his own end and can play in any situation, making him a very versatile player. While he projects to be a middle-six winger, he could play up and down the lineup and on special teams. He’s a good player to have on your team.” Josh Bell, The Hockey Writers
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
The team that selects Chromiak can expect a solid, top-six winger who can run a special teams unit. He’s a smart player and has all the tools ready to excel for any team he joins, but he will need a little coaching to perfect some of the finer points in his game, specifically on defense and skating. His future will also likely be impacted by who he plays with, as it seems unlikely he will be a player to build around, but this could change as he grows and develops. Still, he could provide that scoring punch a team needs to get to the next level.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10, Defense – 6.5/10
Chromiak played on the U18 Slovakian team in 2018-19 and has twice suited up for Slovakia at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament where he was one of the team’s best players. He is currently Slovakia’s highest scorer of all time. He’s also won the Slovakian U18 and U20 league titles in back-to-back seasons.
An elementary teacher by day and an avid hockey fan, Dayton joined The Hockey Writers in 2019 and currently covers the Ottawa Senators, World Juniors, and NHL Entry Draft.