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Jiri Kulich


Skating:

Kulich is a big guy at 6'1" and he uses a big, powerful stride to make it up and down the ice quickly. He is usually one of the first forwards back in his own zone for defensive help and has speed to break away from defenders on the fast break. 


Passing/Handling:

Kulich has some surprisingly soft hands in tight spaces, whether its deking around defenders along the wall, or undressing goalies on breakaways. His passing is solid, quick and accurate, but he lacks the standout vision and pinpoint accuracy of the best puck distributors. 


Shooting:

Kulich has a hard wrister that can be tough for goalies to handle and can reliably be used to create rebounds and second chances. He is good at getting his shot off quickly and in tight spaces. He isn't afraid to get to the centre of the ice and the slot, which allows him to make the most of his shot.


IQ (Vision, Anticipation, Panic/Poise):

Being a big body, Kulich is willing and able to get to the front of the net for screens and high danger shots. On the powerplay, Kulich is frequently the fulcrum with the puck, or directs traffic with his stick when others have possession. He is very positionally aware, whether its getting to high danger areas in the offensive zone, or covering defensively. He knows he has multiple skills and ways to get out of dangerous situations, and keeps his head in all.


Forechecking:

Kulich uses his combination of speed and size to be an effective forechecker. Kulich always finishes his checks in the offensive zone to keep defenders honest, but he can also keep up with his skating. He also has excellent hand-eye coordination which he uses multiple times to break up saucer, cross-ice passes. 


Defense:

Kulich's standout ability is his 200 foot game. He is generally one of the first forwards back to help on defense, and will usually cover for pinching defenders. In his own zone, Kulich is fast and physical, and is good at putting pressure on opponents. He isn't afraid of puck battles and difficult areas in the ice to make a defensive play.


Best Asset:

Kulich is a great 200 foot player. He can help out defenders in his own zone and chip in offensively. He is big and quick, and able to jump up in the fast break and then make it back to break up a play going the other way. 


Biggest Concern:

I am not sure how well his offensive game will translate to the next level. He has a good shot and a good pass, but it might not be able to be as effective against NHL competition. A lack of offensive output may keep him from being a top line centre.


Top Tier/Role Potential:

1 - ppg+ scorer or 60-80 point scorer with ELITE BASH. Top 6 centre.


Justification for Top Tier Assessment:

Kulich will be an effective defensive forward in the NHL, the biggest question is his offensive output. If paired with great offensive talent, and his game continues to progress as it has, Kulich could be an ice tilting top 6 centre, that probably won't reach the point-per-game plateau, but will control play whenever on the ice.


50th Percentile Tier/Role:

"3 - 60-70 point scorer with below average BASH or 50-60 point scorer with above average/elite BASH

"


Justification for 50th Percentile Tier Assessment:

There are genuine question marks on how his offensive game will translate. If Kulich struggles to score like he did earlier in his career, Kulich's ceiling could only reach mid-6 shut down role. 


Stylistic Comparable:

Kulich has the body, physicality and speed of Pierre-Luc Dubois and the defensive awareness of Phillip Danault


Scouts Final Thoughts and Additional Stats/Info:

The progression that Kulich has made since being drafted has been phenomenal. He was originally drafted as a defensive forward, but has since added a lot of offensive skill that has translated into AHL success. If his upward trajectory continues, he could very easily become one of the better second line centres that plays in all situations in all zones. 



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