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Buffalo Sabres Top 20 Under 24 Prospect Rankings, #19: Jakub Konecny

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Czech forward comes in at #19 in our top 20 under 24 prospect rankings

2020 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The Top 20 Under 24 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of five staff writers and over 300 readers that ranked prospects under the age of 24 and have played less than 125 NHL games.

Next up in our top 20 prospect countdown is Czech forward Jakub Konecny of the HC Slavia Praha in the Czech U20 league. In the only viewing I had of him he was centering the top line of the Czech Republic in the u18 5 Nations tournament this past winter where he played alongside undrafted teammate Tomas Chlubna.

From the 2010-2018 drafts there have only been two drafted forwards who played their draft season predominantly in the U20 league in the Czech. I’ve added Lukas Rosek as well since he was drafted by the Sabres in 2019 and did play about half his season in the U20 league during his first draft eligible season (he was drafted as DY+1 overager).

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Year Round Pick Player Name Posiion Draft Year GP Points League DOB NHL Games NHL Points DY+1 DY+2 DY+3
Year Round Pick Player Name Posiion Draft Year GP Points League DOB NHL Games NHL Points DY+1 DY+2 DY+3
2011 6 158 Lukas Sedlak C/LW 47 27 Czech U20 2/25/93 162 27 QMJHL (50gp,45pts) QMJHL (48gp,34pts) AHL (54gp, 14pts)
2011 6 168 Daniel Pribyl C 41 58 Czech U20 12/18/92 0 0 Czech2 (21gp, 13pts) Czech (42gp, 22pts) Czech (46gp,22pts)
2019 6 160 Lukas Rousek* W 18 26 Czech U20 4/20/99 0 0 Czech (34gp, 9pts) Czech (52gp, 29pts) Czech (7gp, 5pts)
2020 7 216 Jakub Konecny F 32 25 Czech U20 6/19/02 0 0 Czech U20 (11gp, 13pts)

Kevin Wong of DobberProspects recently wrote an in-depth piece about the Sabres offseason including one of the more in-depth scouting reports publicly available about Konecny that you can find here. In the scouting report he also linked an eight minute shift-by-shift game of Konecny playing against Canada in the Hlinka made by Twitter user @CambieKev that can be found here as well. To quote Wong:

“Jakub Konecny was the Sabres’ final selection of the 2020 NHL Draft. He is, by and large, a defensive-minded forward. He plays a simple, speedy, north-south style. His primary objectives are to transition the puck out of his own zone and to keep his team from being hemmed in their defensive end. At 5’10”, 157 lbs, he is an undersized skater.

He is light on his skates. He compensates for this with his skating ability and determined defensive effort. Offensively, he does not offer much in terms of creativity or vision. He does not generate much offense with the puck on his stick, and although he is able to move swiftly up the ice with the puck, he is not particularly effective off the rush. He has been an effective scorer in the Czech junior leagues, but his offensive ability might not stand out at higher levels.”

The biggest question when it comes to Konecny will be how he develops as an offensive player. While his speed is universally praised; his offensive upside and creativity with the puck on the stick is a big question mark.

While he’s currently sitting second in points in the Czech U20 league; he’s also 43rd in points per game. His fellow teammate Simon Slavicek, who is just 16 years old, has received the call-up to play in the second division but Konecny has not. In April, Jokke Nevalainen failed to project Konecny as a serious contender for a roster spot on the Czech’s 2021 World Juniors roster. With the country slipping in terms of high end talent coming up through the juniors ranks that is a bit alarming that he would be left off the team.

He’s a long term project, and hopefully he receives a call-up to play in the men’s divisions in the Czech sometime soon.