2022-23 Team: Omaha Lancers (USHL)
Date of Birth: Jan 20, 2005
Place of Birth: Praha, Czechia
Height: 6-foot-6, Weight: 209 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 2nd (among NA goaltenders)
- FC Hockey: 38th
- TSN (Bob McKenzie): 32nd
- Elite Prospects: 38th
- The Hockey Writers (Horn): 70th
Hailing from Praha, Czechia, Michael Hrabal is the second-ranked goaltender in North America according to NHL Central Scouting, trailing only Carson Bjarnasson in that category. He grew up playing in HC Sparta Praha’s system, and emerged as a star goaltender among his peers during his final season in his home country, posting a record of 7-3-0 with a .929 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.60 goals-against average (GAA) with his U17 team in 2020-21.
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He also not only showed that he could hang with the big guns, but took a step forward too. In 24 games with the U20 team, he finished with a dominant record of 18-3-0 with a .936 SV% and a 2.14 GAA. His play caught the attention of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL), who drafted him in the ninth round of the 2021 USHL Futures Draft. The Saints then subsequently traded him to the Omaha Lancers where he has spent his draft year.
Summer 2022 was a big one for Hrabal, as he announced his commitment to the University of Massachusetts for the 2023-24 season prior to his debut with the Lancers. When you look at his stats in his rookie season, you might find yourself questioning why he’s a top-ranked goalie prospect. He finished the season with a record of 8-12-4 to go along with a SV% of .904 and a GAA at an even 3.00 while splitting the crease with his tandem counterpart, 20-year-old Swiss netminder Kevin Pasche.
Before judging Hrabal’s stats on paper, it’s important to note that the Lancers were the third-worst of 16 teams. Moving to a new country and playing for one of the worst teams in the league likely didn’t help his confidence, and while some prospects may have been able to single-handedly propel their team to better fortunes, it shouldn’t be expected from all of them. Besides, the team generally fared better when he was in net, which says a lot considering Pasche is two years his senior.
When watching Hrabal play, one of his most redeeming factors early in his young career is his agility, especially for a goaltender who’s 6-foot-6. His poise is also very strong for his age, and it’s not often you’ll find him flopping around in his crease. Being a tall goalie is one thing, but it’s another to factor stability into your game. He tends to rely on his butterfly position a little too often and plays pretty deep in his crease, which is less than ideal for a netminder of his size, but the potential is certainly there and his strengths will only blossom with a good team in front of him.
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Michael Hrabal – NHL Draft Projection
Hrabal’s place in rankings worldwide suggests that he’ll go sometime in the second round of this year’s draft, but with goaltenders, it’s always hard to predict. Such is the case with most goalies, it will likely come down to how other teams view him and who’s in pursuit of a goaltender. That said, based on the information we have, it would be a safe bet to say he goes sometime in round two.
“If there were a word that could best describe Michael Hrabal’s play, it would be “smooth.” It is rare for a young goalie the size of Hrabal to have footwork even equal to that of their peers, but Hrabal is an exception to that stereotype. Hrabal moves efficiently within his crease, implementing proper movement techniques and transitioning effortlessly between them. He is controlled and composed, rarely being caught scrambling.” – Colin Hunter, Dobber Prospects
“Hrabal uses his speed and athleticism nicely to shift his positioning while sprawling out to shut down high danger shots. He has excellent post security, he takes away a lot of space in net when the opposition is driving the puck in the corner and behind the red line. In addition to his post security, he does a good job of widening himself and taking up space down low.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
- Puck Tracking
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Using size to his advantage
Like all goaltenders, it’s hard to say what Hrabal’s ceiling is. He’s evidently got the tools to be ranked as a top goaltender for the draft, so with the right development, I’d say his ceiling is a reliable starting goalie in the NHL. But, again, it will come down to which team drafts him and what kind of a development path they have for him.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5
Hrabal was named the USHL’s goaltender of the week for the week of March 27, 2023.