For many teams, the CHL Import Draft is one of the most important days on the calendar year. The chance to land a big star from overseas is something that all clubs dream of. Whether it be Marco Rossi or Martin Chromiak, every team relishes the chance to bring in a star player that will change the dynamic of their club.
Related: 2007 NHL Draft – 5 Forgotten Picks
For the Oshawa Generals, this day is one that is well-known to all. At this time last year, the Generals drafted Finnish forward Oliver Suni with the 44th overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. He went on to have a great rookie season with the Generals, putting up 32 points in 43 games played.
With their 37th overall selection on Tuesday, the Generals decided to draft Slovakian defenseman David Mudrak. The 6-foot-1 defender spent this past season playing for TPS U20 in the U20 SM-sarja. Many people think he is an intriguing pick that could make an impact right away. Here is what he brings to the Generals lineup:
Mudrak put up impressive numbers in the U20 SM-sarja this past season. Playing as an 18-year-old, he proved that he could put up points and contribute on offense. In 47 games played, he managed to score six goals and added 16 assists for 22 points to go along with 38 minutes in penalties.
When he has the puck on his stick, Mudrak makes heads-up plays. Whether that be a quick pass to his forwards breaking through the neutral zone or just a simple pass off the boards in the offensive zone on the power play, he knows when to make the right play. He is great at pinching and knows when the time is right to make a play to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
Mudrak is great at getting his shot through traffic and can jump in on the rush when he wants. His skating ability allows him to jump into the play but allows him to get back in time if the puck transitions the other way. He was amongst the top 20 defenders in points in the entire league and can be an offensive option for the Generals if he decides to come over for next season.
Mudrak plays a heavy style of game. When the puck goes into the corners, he is not afraid to use his physicality to gain possession back. If someone is crowding the front of his net and screening the goalie, he will make sure to clear the danger zone.
Mudrak is also really good at making plays under pressure. When the opponents are in on the forecheck and the puck circles behind the net, he never panics and makes sure to know where his teammates are before he makes a play. He is great at using his stick to break up passing lanes and can transition the puck up the ice with ease.
The Generals are a great team that will look to compete for the OHL championship for years to come. After acquiring a star like Philip Tomasino from the Niagara IceDogs, they are set with their top line for at least next season.
With a strong backend that includes players like Mitch Brewer, Giovanni Villalti, and Lleyton Moore, Mudrak will be able to draw into the lineup and be able to complement the system really well. The Generals love to involve their defense in the offensive zone and Mudrak fits that mold to a T. He can play with anyone that the coaches pair him with and I think if he does end up coming overseas, he will benefit immensely.
Mudrak is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft after having been passed over last year and could hear his name called come draft day. Although he won’t be selected early on in the draft, there is a chance a team will call his name. It will be interesting to see how he develops over the next few years and I think he could be a decent prospect down the road.
My name is Mathieu Sheridan. I am a writer here at THW who covers the OHL and prospects in general.