2020-21 Team: HC Energie Karlovy Vary / Czech Extraliga
Date of Birth: May 21, 2003
Place of Birth: Zlin, Czech Republic
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 194 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
Nowhere is the uncertainty of the 2021 NHL Draft seen more than with goaltenders. Even in the best of times, it is impossible to project how a goalie will develop after they are drafted, as this process can take years to come to fruition. A goalie picked in Round 6 can develop just as well as someone picked in Round 1 if they are given the proper time and structure to find their game.
This applies to Czech prospect Tomas Suchanek because he is a goalie that, under normal circumstances, would have a more complete draft profile. He has played in multiple international tournaments, after all, and is taking on starting time in the second-highest level of Czech professional hockey, which should give him enough time to spotlight why he deserves to be selected in 2021.
However, heading into the draft, Suchanek is a bit of a wild card. Some see him as one of the top goaltenders available, while others see him as an, at best, sixth-round pick. He was a top selection at the 2020 CHL Import Draft and is expected to spend some time playing in North America for 2021-22, but right now he just doesn’t have the exposure needed to be a big name on draft day.
His statistics are part of this problem. While playing for a mediocre Czech team at the 2021 WJC-18, he got absolutely blasted in net, ending the tournament with a 6.47 goals against average along with a .786 save percentage. These numbers are bad, but they are a sign of a weak team in front of him.
In his home league, he has a much more stable, with a 3.12 GAA and a .908 SV%. Once again, these numbers are far from eye popping, but they show a player who can make quality starts around opponents at a similar skill level.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Tomas Suchanek – NHL Draft Projection
If you’re looking at him purely based on his intangibles, Suchanek would be a solid pick in Round 5, who could go as early as the mid-fourth round.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
However, due to his lackluster starts in the WJC-18, it wouldn’t be surprising if general managers will be a bit hesitant to select Suchanek. Those sorts of events can shape a scouting report, especially at a time when there is limited information available. Due to this, I wouldn’t be surprised if he slipped to the late sixth round, and is seen as a bit of a home-run shot by the team that takes him.
…Suchanek is a jittery butterfly netminder who was a key component for his teams at both the club and under-17 international level.Steve Kournianos and Ross Martin – thedraftanalyst.com
When it comes to Suchanek, we’re talking about one of the goalies who may have to buy his team a victory or two on his own. The top Czech goalie for the upcoming NHL draft, he spent the entire season playing in the Czech Republic’s second pro league and gathered an 8-10 record in 21 games.Chapin Landvogt – iihf.com
- NHL Caliber Frame
- Willing to play the puck
- Moves well in net
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
It’s difficult to tell if the Czech team was just completely outmatched in the 2021 WJC-18, or if it was Suchanek who struggled in net against some of the top competition in his age group. If that is the case, it may make teams wary of selecting him earlier in the draft.
With a large frame a solid base to build upon, Suchanek has the look of an AHL starter with the potential to work his way into the NHL in a backup role.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5
As a likely late-round pick at the 2021 NHL Draft, Suchanek is a low-risk prospect that has solid if not unremarkable top-end potential. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but there is a reason why he isn’t considered amongst the top goalies this season.
That being said, he is in a good position to develop his game and could be taking on starting time in the AHL in the coming years, which is a great path for a late-round selection. However, it’s also just as likely that he never leaves Europe and just carves out a playing career in the Czech Republic.
Tomas Suchanek Statistics
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.