2019-20 Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (#26)
Date of Birth: September 25, 2001
Place of Birth: Dacice, Czech Republic
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 196 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds entered the 2019-20 season with lower expectations than what we’re used to seeing. They’ve had a recent run of success capped off by their appearance in the OHL Finals in 2018. But as usually happens with teams that enjoy that kind of success, their time came to start retooling.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Morgan Frost was gone. Barrett Hayton never came back to the Greyhounds after spending time with both the Coyotes and Team Canada. The time came for new leaders to step up and take over the reigns up north. Coach John Dean and his staff named 17-year old defenseman Ryan O’Rourke as their new team captain. They also named 18-year old import Jaromir Pytlik as an alternate captain. That’s a pretty good promotion to have in just his second season with the Greyhounds.
Pytlik started the season off very well with seven points in his first three games and 14 points in his first nine. It seemed like he was ready for launch. But his production did tail off as the season went on. Overall, Pytlik finished 2019-20 with a line of 22-28-50 in 56 games. He spent most of the season as the team’s top-line center, so he did consistently see the opposition’s best. This is a case where the numbers don’t tell the whole story about his upside.
The first thing that sticks out about Pytlik is that every time I look on the ice, I feel like he’s out there doing something to impact the game. Need a big goal? Pytlik was on. Need a big penalty kill? Pytlik was sacrificing himself. He had a level of trust and dependability established that he saw himself out there when there was a big moment. It’s no wonder. He does many things well. He can skate. He can score. He can setup plays. He takes pride playing defense. While one thing doesn’t stand out in a dynamic way, these boxes are all checked off as above average.
Questions with Pytlik start with production. Is his lack of production an element of playing all situations so he didn’t get as much a chance to produce offensively or is there another gear he needs to bring? I do think he can improve in some areas including his play at center and his consistency game in and game out. There were times where I always saw him. But then there were times I felt he could have done so much more. I see the talent but I want to see him tap into it. It’s there. I think he has an extra gear he can lean on when needed. At center, I’d like to see him be more dominant in faceoffs. He’s getting better but there’s plenty more there. All that said, I am bullish on him figuring those things out given the tools he has in his belt. Whoever lands Pytlik is getting one of the more complete and pro ready players in this draft.
Related THW Draft Profiles
Jaromir Pytlik – NHL Draft Projection
I am notably a little higher on Pytlik than the industry. Early in the season, he was a late first rounder for me. He did slip a little to the early second based on production over the whole season. He is entrenched inside my top-40. He checks a lot of different boxes off. I could see a team take a chance on him in the late first if they believe he can be a top-line player. Still, this ranking is a reflection of everything he can do at both ends of the ice. Most of the industry has him as a mid-late second rounder.
“Anytime I look down the bench and I’m not sure who to put on (the ice), it’s easy to say Jaromir Pytlik because he does play every situation. He already plays like a pro. Everything’s hard. If he gets the puck, he makes hard decisions. He’s hard on his stick. He’s willing to compete for a puck. Nothing is easy when you play against Pytlik. I love his speed wide. I love his shot. I think he’s a pretty smart player.” -Greyhounds coach John Dean
“Jaromir Pytlik is the quintessential all-around player. Particular amongst his notable attributes are skating, puck control and finishing. He has the ability to break away in an offensive area and create a lot of scoring opportunities which makes him very effective. He’s an active playmaker who can lead the team with a number of combinations and final passes, but he can also take responsibility when needed with good defensive skills. Overall, he has excellent hockey sense. As a result of his speed and strong physical skill, he can make some tough one-on-one moves and often out-muscle defenders.” –Elite Prospects
“Fantastic release. Pytlik is very powerful and has the ability to take over a shift with his strength on the puck. I worry about his production as he is a late birthday and isn’t the top scorer on a young Greyhounds team. Part of that could be a continued adjustment to North America. I don’t think he is a 1st round talent, but he has an intriguing mix that if it comes together. He could be an above average 2nd liner at the next level.” –Peter Kneulman
“Pytlik is a very intelligent player and one of the most complete players in his draft class. His attention to detail on defence is as important to him as offence. The coaching staff can trust him with big defensive responsibilities and is usually the first player over the boards in the last minute whether down a goal or up a goal. He can kill penalties and is a threat offensively on the PK. Pytlik can play both center and wing, which is something NHL scouts covet, but he’ll need to put some work in on the dot. On the wing I would like him to add another gear to his speed. It’s also an area he has shown some improvement on over a year ago and there is nothing to suggest he won’t continue to put in the necessary work. Fans either like him because of his physical, power game or don’t because he isn’t a flashy bring them out of their seats kind of player. But scouts do because of his all-around complete game. The tool box is full but some of the tools need some sharpening. My money is on him eventually putting it all together.” –Dominic Tiano
- NHL Size
- Effective 200-foot player
- Above average skater
- Good decision-maker
- Above average finish
- Overall play at center
- Can be more dynamic
Pytlik is one of the more complete players in the draft. The fact he can play a solid, 200-foot game dependably puts his chances for success at the next level higher than some of his peers. While I don’t think he has the explosiveness to be a top-line player, you are getting a solid, two-way center that can do several things good. Teams love that kind of player.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10, Defense – 8/10
Pytlik was named an alternate captain for the Greyhounds this season. He along with teammate Ryan O’Rourke participated in the CHL Top Prospects’ Game.