2022-23 Team: Tri-City Americans – Western Hockey League
Date of Birth: April 30, 2023
Place of Birth: Prerov, CZE
Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 180 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: Third-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (North American Goalies): 9th
- Elite Prospects: *Notable Prospect
- FCHockey: 162nd
- Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 107th
- Hockey Writers (Horn): 100th
Back at the 2021 NHL Draft, I wrote Tomas Suchanek’s Draft profile and I expected the Czech goaltender to be selected somewhere around Round 6 or 7 due to his raw but promising skillset that could be developed after he (like many players) lacked playing time due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, he was not selected in 2021 or 2022, which made me question writing another profile two years later. After a strong season for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL and an outstanding performance at the 2023 WJC-20, where he helped to lead Team Czechia to a Silver Medal, I think the third time may be the charm.
For Suchanek’s part, he has improved by leaps and bounds since his first year of eligibility. During his time with the Americans, he’s gone from a shaky starter to a reliable backstop who took on 46 games this season while posting a .912 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.05 goals-against average (GAA).
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
If you want to see what Suchanek can do when the lights are brightest, his 1.52 GAA and .934 SV% at the 2023 WJC-20 put him not only amongst the best goalies at the tournament but his performance against Team Canada in their shocking 5-2 win in the qualifying round is one of the most impressive in tournament history given the quality of his opponent.
So, what you have is a goaltender who may not be technically the best in this class, but he has a body of work that is difficult to ignore over the last 18 months. This means 2023 will be his best shot at being drafted, as he has proven that he can carry a team on his back.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Tomas Suchanek – NHL Draft Projection
As a 20-year-old overage goaltender with a solid body of work, I could see Suchanek drawing more interest from the NHL world this year compared to the last two. Every year we see a handful of overage players selected in the later rounds of the draft with the expectation that they will be ready to play for that team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate the following season.
I could see this as a likely path forward for Suchanek, as he would be a relatively low-risk sixth or seventh-round pick who is already used to playing on North American ice. That would make his transition to the AHL fairly simple, and he could be fighting their starter for ice time as soon as October.
With this in mind, it also wouldn’t be a shock if he went undrafted again but receives an invite to a team’s prospect training camp. This already happened in 2022 when he was invited to the Buffalo Sabres, but he wasn’t signed and went back into the draft pool for 2023.
This would mean a team would get a shot at an AHL goaltender without having to invest a draft pick, so that could be the route they decide to take. However, all it will take is one GM with a goaltending need to take a chance on the overage goaltender in 2023.
…it was Suchánek, who had been passed over in the draft twice, that ended up being the team’s difference maker. It all started against Canada on Boxing Day, where he shocked the hosts by making 36 saves on 38 shots and led Czechia to just their fourth-ever win against the Canadians at the World Juniors. He continues his strong play throughout the preliminary rounds stopping 47 of the 51 shots he faced during his next three games and helping Czechia clinch the top seed in Group A with a 3-0-1 record.Adam Kierszenblat – thehockeywriters.com
Suchanek firmly put himself on the map during the recent 2023 World Junior Championship (WJC), backstopping Czechia all the way to the gold medal game where they ultimately fell to Team Canada in overtime… Suchanek went 5-2 and led the tournament with a 1.52 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He was named to the WJC All-Star Team as well as one of Czechia’s top-three players at the event.Tri-City Americans – amshockey.com
But none of it phased Suchanek, and similar to his performance in the 2022 quarterfinals when Czechia upset the U.S., his play on Monday helped carry his squad to a shocking win. Maybe we should stop being so surprised.Kellen Forrest – sportsnet.ca
- Proven overage goaltender
- Has experience winning against top competition
- Size and athleticism to play in the NHL
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Rebound control
- Lacks polish in his movement
There is no harder position to predict in the NHL than a goaltender. Even though it feels like Suchanek has been around forever, he is still just 20 years old and has a lot of time left to develop his skillset and frame before he will reach his peak ability. This means that he could still have the best years of hockey ahead of him, and he could be a starter in the league if things go perfectly by age 25.
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Realistically, if Suchanek is selected this year, he will be sent to that team’s AHL franchise to start or play in tandem in order to showcase his skills. From there he could become a career AHL starter who acts as an NHL call-up when needed, or even become a full-blown backup should he continue developing his overall game. It’s unlikely that he would become a full-time starter, but a 1B option in an NHL tandem isn’t out of range.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5