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Samuel Honzek



Scout: Austin [2023-08-18]


Calgary Flames
2023 NHL Entry Draft
1st Round Pick
16th Overall Selection by the Calgary Flames

MAIN REPORT

Skating:

Good Skating for a 6'4 Forward, which is a big plus for his game. Honzek's skating ability and offense is likely a factor that helped to make him a lottery pick. Of course, his size means he'll never be a flashy or dominant skater, but as of right now, there isn't any question marks there. He can benefit from getting faster, but there's a good foundation there.


Passing/Handling:

Honzek's playmaking was perhaps his most positive improvement since coming over to North America. Playing within his own age group let Honzek develop his game at his own pace in comparison to the season prior played in Slovakia.


Shooting:

Although he's put a lot of effort in playmaking, Honzek still possesses strong shooting skills. He has good accuracy and a quick shot, that already looked pro-level in 2021-22 while playing men's Hockey in the Slovakian leagues. He has a strong shot that has the potential to cause a major goal boost for him next season in the WHL.


IQ (Vision, off/def anticipation, panic meter):

The aforementioned qualities of Honzek's game, his decent skating, and dual-threat scoring/playmaking combos are big reasons Honzek found himself as a lottery pick in the 2023 Draft, and have continued to get better because Honzek is constantly improving on his game, especially as he adapted to the North American ice. His awareness level could come with more intensity but Honzek isn't someone giving up many mistakes. Defensively, Honzek seems to prefer brain over brawn, a fascinating choice for a player who's size would allow him to gravitate to the latter, but Honzek plays a mature game all throughout the ice.


Forechecking:

Honzek, despite his size, isn't always the most physical player in that he plays much more softer than his 6'4 frame, but forechecking has always been something that Honzek has excelled at. A more intense Honzek could become a real menace.


Defense (Rush and in-zone):

Honzek's somewhat muted aggressiveness was noted in his forechecking section, but perhaps too much is being asked of a 17-year old because of his size. His reaction time to rushes could be better but overall, Honzek uses his size well when he does use it, and has decent Defensive IQ, he just needs to get more comfortable with using his size to his advantage.


Best Asset:

Honzek has a well-rounded game with much of his game having improved throughout the year. As mentioned in the IQ season, Honzek continued to show growth in multiple aspects of the game, even while missing time due to injury, Honzek looked like a much more refined player from start to end, and easily without these growths could have been a player with much more questions that he has already shown an answer for. It's all about getting better from here on out.


Biggest Concern:

Some much better scouts than myself have concerns over whether Honzek is a Center at the NHL level. Honzek could be a Winger in the NHL level, having played both at the WHL level. Honzek is a good faceoff taker and that ability could keep him there but he needs to work on his strength and skating to ensure so. An injury at the World Juniors also made his stock a bit of a question mark.


Top Tier/Role Potential:

A bit of a spoiler, but my Stylistic Comparable for Honzek is Pavel Zacha, who looks to be the Bruins potential 1st line Center with the retirements of team legends Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, and while neither Zacha or Honzek are guys you're expecting to be your team's 1C, but Honzek very well could make a serviceable 2nd liner, either as a Winger or Center, with the potential for 50-60 PTS. If he uses his body more in the future, there is an increased confident that the hits will come, improving his BASH.


50th percentile Tier/Role:

The middle-six seems to be where Honzek is most likely to realistically end up. Honzek is one of the safer players in this draft, although improvements to his skating ability will dictate the difference between a 2nd line or 3rd line peak.


Stylistic Comparable:

This is a common comparable but Pavel Zacha is an obvious comparison for Honzek. Both big-bodied Forwards with good skating and offensive talents. Zacha had played as a Winger before solidifying his ability to play Center which very well could be a scenario that Honzek undertakes.

GAME REPORTS

Game Date: 04/06/23

Teams and Score: Kamloops Blazers (5 - 4) Vancouver Giants

Notable Stats: Honzek - 0G 3A 3P 29:54 TOI 10 SOG


Skating:

In a fast-tempo game, it seemed like Honzek looked like a bit slow in transition, but turned on the jets when the puck was on his stick. On the positive side, his skating mobility looked better than usual, and he seemed to move around defenders better than he usually does. Some good movements but he needs to get quicker. His first step also seemed a bit jumpy at times. Still seems as if Honzek needs to work on his skating intensity away from the puck. He seemed a bit faster prior to his leg injury at the World Juniors, unsure if that caused an issue.


Passing/Handling:

Honzek had 3 Assists in this pivotal playoff game, although just one was a certain pass attempt (the second assist may have been a missed shot that found a stick), but his passing ability looked good in this game, and it needed to be, as Vancouver was in an elimination match that they ended up losing. Besides his assist totals, his passing game was just average. Some decent puckhandling when he had the open space.


Shooting:

Pretty hard to believe in a game where Honzek had 3 Assists, but his shooting looked a bit more stronger than his playmaking. As alluded to in the Skating portion, when Honzek had the puck in his stick, he can fly at times, and had some good scoring chances in part due to his quickness with the puck, even if he couldn't find the net. Honzek has a very quick shot release but still retains a strong eye for the net.


IQ:

Something that was interesting during this time that was noticeable was that when Honzek is battling for the puck, that he takes a moment to see his surroundings to check on the game behind him. It was impressive how Honzek took a second to analyze the ice without losing his focus on the puck battle in the boards. Usually Honzek's IQ is offensive-minded, but it was a good example of Defensive IQ on Honzek's part.


Forechecking:

Honzek wasn't overly aggressive, but had some good moments of pokechecking that were successful, or at the very least he battled for. Once again, it felt that Honzek has a frame that he doesn't use enough of, either he isn't confident in his physical game yet or he isn't interested in being a gritty player. He had his moments but with his size, you'd wish he'd be more aggressive.


Defense:

Honzek seemed a bit more focused on the offensive end, but there was the occasional moment of pressure on defense, but largely, he allowed for the defensemen to their jobs in the shutdown role. The game moved a lot, so getting a good read on Honzek's defense wasn't too easy.


Standout skill today:

Felt that Honzek showed some good chances in such an important game, although it's tough that none of those shots went in. Some improved speed and playmaking, and a few moments of good awareness. If he can skate like he did with the puck without it, he could become a very useful NHLer.


What was missing today?:

The fact that he didn't skate too well with the puck is a question mark. Not for a lack of trying, Honzek is just not overly fast, and it was evident against a highly skilled Kamloops roster. Would have liked to seen a more physically imposing Honzek in an elimination battle, and hopefully next year an older Honzek will have more comfort in doing so.

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Game Date 12/21/22

Teams and Score Canada U20 (6-1) Slovakia U20

Notable Stats 0G 0A 0P -2 21:12 TOI 3 SOG


Skating A really good skating performance by Honzek, who had some strong intensity at both ends. Felt that this was the best skating performance that I have seen of his. Even though Canada managed to dominate the Slovaks, Honzek showed that he could handle his own.


Passing/Handling It was tough for the Slovaks to get many chances to be a puck moving team, and Honzek wasn't an exception. He wasn't a strong playmaker in this one, but his puckhandling was strong, and even against a great Canada team you could see the good puck control qualities he possesses. Had a misplayed bounce that led to a turnover and eventual Canada goal. Besides that one blunder, Honzek didn't look shaky.


Shooting Honzek didn't get many chances to display his shooting, but in the few chances he got, he impressed with his ability to create shot space for himself, as well as his quick release and eye for the net. Canada gave him a hard time defensively, but of the chances he got, Honzek made good opportunities to get goals.


IQ Honzek's offensive IQ was good in this game. Despite not having a massive amount of chances, Honzek was one of Slovakia's best offensive drivers, and looked to be one of the more intelligent players on the ice. Not entirely sure about his defensive IQ at times, but he showed some real good creativity and intelligence in this one.


Forechecking Not really evident in this game. A few battles but overall not a lot to say here.


Defense Honzek did alright defensively, but a constant concern seems to be Honzek a bit more focused on the puck as opposed to providing defensive coverage, as if he's focused more on getting the puck back in his stick then actually trying to be stopping attempts. Beyond that, he did well enough positioning himself at times, but his reaction time could be a bit quicker.


Standout skill today Despite the Canada 2022 WJC being a juggernaut, (Note : This was just a Pre-Tournament match), Honzek looked to be one of Slovakia's most skilled players, and one of their most dangerous offensive weapons. Despite the quiet night on the scoresheet, Honzek did a lot with the best he could do, and if he was on Team Canada with the game he had, I think Canada could have done a lot better than 6-1.


What was missing today? It's tough to get a read of Honzek's defensive game, both in the WHL and internationally. He's not someone who makes many lapses defensively, but for a 6'4 player, it seems that his defensive game is still more raw than one would like it to be.


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Game Date 10/22/22

Teams and Score Vancouver Giants (6-5) Victoria Grizzlies

Notable Stats Honzek - 2G 1A 3P 19:31 TOI 5 SOG


Skating:

Decent skating from Honzek. Have to remember he's 6'4 so he isn't the fastest skater but this was a game where he didn't look much slower than the rest of the players around him. Did have a habit of overstating at times while chasing for the puck but overall his skating looked fine.


Passing/Handling:

Honzek had a very nice opportunity in the opening minute of the 2nd period that was one of the better passes I've seen from Honzek, who usually doesn't make such flashy passes.


Shooting:

Nothing could make for a better clutch moment than Honzek's goal with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game to tie it for Vancouver, sending them to OT. Excellent positioning by Honzek on that play to make himself almost invisible with a near open net, even retreating back when play came too close to not have a player rush to block him. His 1st goal, in the first period, was even nicer of a play, recovering himself from a puck battle in order to re-join the rush, taking control of the puck in Victoria's blueline after a nice sneak-in to beat the defense to the puck. Honzek really shows off his great hands in this one.


IQ:

Honzek's trickery with the late goal was noted, but as well as that, this seemed like a game where Honzek's defensive positioning looked quite solid. He looked more protective in his own end, and did a decent job in connecting in play.


Forechecking:

Honzek showed some defensive stick battling, especially while Vancouver was shorthanded, not being afraid to challenge for the puck and try to contain players, which is encouraging.


Defense:

Felt that this was a good defensive game from Honzek. He looked composed and seemed to be more active in this game than usual. He isn't a player who likes to guard a single man, which may irritate some coaches depending on the play style.


Standout skill today:

This game really showcased what the Calgary Flames hope Samuel Honzek will be. Great chances, good skating & a clutch goal to top it off. It felt like a game where you were watching a player who's going to be big.


What was missing today?:

Honzek could stand to be a bit more aggressive in play, whether at the boards or while on the ice. He's 6'4 and nearly 200lbs, so a stronger, more physical game could make a big impact for him at the NHL level. His defensive game is quite solid, but it's a bit of a surprise he doesn't use his body more.

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