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2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Tomáš Hertl

Tomáš Hertl, C

Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic, 12/11/93
Bio: 6’2, 190 lbs., L
Slavia Praha, Czech Extraliga
Rankings: ISS – 30; CSS – 5 (EU)

The Skinny: Tomáš Hertl, the large-framed, gritty puck-hound from Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraliga has a nose for the net – but will skating deficiencies hinder his first-round aspirations?


Another top Euro who’s playing significant minutes in a men’s league, Tomáš Hertl is already producing at his nation’s highest level. The fourth-leading scorer for Slavia Praha this season, Hertl is already displaying his offensive chops against intense competition. When you add-in his solid performance at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Alberta, his place among the top draft-eligibles is secure.

Hertl brings some outstanding tools to the table. He has top-notch hands (as his shot/pass-tipping prowess attests to) and superlative offensive instincts. He is rarely observed giving up on the play. When his first attempts at offense fail, he sticks with it or regroups intelligently changing angles and finding the gaps in the zone.

While not the flashiest talent on the attack in this draft class, he protects the puck very well and is a very able finisher. Hertl only rarely passes up the opportunity to shoot and when he does, his playmaking instincts are very solid. He’s got a fair bit of dangle to his game and has a decent shot, but teams drooling over his offensive potential after his nifty backhander against the U.S. at the World Juniors might be a bit disappointed.

His physical game is solid and while he’ll probably fill out a bit in the coming years, he’s quite strong already and seems to hunt for the big hit. He’s a real menace on the forecheck. Considering his successes in Europe’s bigger rinks and looser-checking game, the transition to the North American style shouldn’t be tough for Tomáš. The Czech center is very much at home in front of the net and along the walls: He’s a big body solid balance, making it difficult to push him off his line or spot.

Defensively, he’s still a work in progress but because of his commitment to the physical game and gritty, hardworking style he projects fairly nicely in this regard. Having a solid hockey IQ doesn’t hurt.

The biggest problem facing Hertl is his skating game. At the very best he’s an average skater with poor agility and acceleration. At the worst, he’s downright slow-footed. This isn’t easily overcome in today’s fast-paced game. It will be something the team that drafts him thinks they can improve with diligent effort or feels will be mitigated by his intelligence and overall play.

On the whole, Tomáš Hertl is a very solid all-around prospect who could contribute in relatively short order at the NHL level given his experience in the Czech Extraliga. That said, his upside is limited significantly by his modest wheels and as a result will probably have trouble cracking the top-twenty picks.

Ideal Fits: Teams who’d benefit from a safe, solid selection with attacking upside in the second half of the first round: Pittsburgh, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix.

Why Your Team Will Take Him: Because he brings the complete package of offensive tools (minus wheels); because he has a great mind for the game.

Why Your Team Will Pass on Him: Because his skating game is a major concern; because there is some disagreement about his ultimate offensive upside.

Strengths: Size, Offensive Acumen, Playmaking, Creativity, Grit, Hockey IQ, Physicality

Weaknesses/Concerns: Skating… and Skating, Defensive Game

Projection: Second-Line  Center (25g, 60p potential)

Predicted 2012 NHL Draft Range: First/Second Round 18-34

Overall Rank: 24

Euro Rank: 6

Czech Republic Rank: 1

Forward Rank: 12

Czech National Rank: 2

Bob is the Boston Bruins correspondent for The Hockey Writers and a credentialed member of the Providence Bruins' Media.

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