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NHL Prospects

The OHL's Sudbury Wolves are the right destination for Dalibor Dvorský after failed SHL stint

Dalibor Dvorský's time in the SHL has come to an end, at least for now.

Earlier today, IK Oskarhamn announced that the team had terminated their contract with Dvorský and that the 10th overall pick of the 2023 draft would be making the jump to play in North America.

Not long after, the OHL's Sudbury Wolves announced that Dvorský would be joining their club for the balance of the 2023-24 season.

This move started to seem inevitable over the past week when Dvorský only played a couple of shifts in total in two of his previous games. In the end, he failed to register a single point in the 10 regular season games he played. At 5-on-5, his line was also out-chanced and outscored by a sizeable margin.

At the same time, other forwards picked later in the same draft, such as David Edstrom, Anton Wahlberg, Otto Stenberg and Oscar Fisker Mølgaard have seen more success in their first month of SHL play.

And it's not like Dvorský simply played on a more stacked team than the others and had trouble getting proper role and minutes as of result. IK Oskarhamn is currently the last-placed team in the entire SHL, having emerged victorious from just two of their 10 games while having scored the least and allowed the most amount of goals.

So, how worried should we be about Dvorský's development?

Even though Dvorský's attempt at an SHL breakout was a failure, I'd caution against jumping to any big conclusions.

Sure, he wasn't very good or impactful on most nights, especially in the latter half of the 10-game stretch. He had trouble at generating chances off the cycle or linking up with his teammates off the rush. While he set up a few partial breakaways with breakout passes through the middle, he barely got into any scoring positions himself throughout those 10 games.

Dvorský never fully clicked with his linemates, instead finding himself out of sync quite often. He'd look for a give-and-go but never get the puck back. He'd beat a forechecker, gain the middle and look for a potential counterattack, but his linemates would already be looking for change.

There were even uncharacteristic defensive errors from time to time. He'd gravitate towards the puck and fail to scan his surroundings, allowing an opponent to sneak past him into a scoring position. This is something that very rarely would happen to Dvorský who was already a stout defensive player in HockeyAllsvenskan last season.

Being responsible with his puck touches was another thing that Dvorský excelled in the professional ranks last year, but seemingly had more trouble to start the season as the pace ramped up. There were more turnovers in the defensive zone, even a few really bad ones where he passed carelessly toward the middle near the net-front. He just wasn't on the same page with his teammates.

There were good moments here and there, too. At times, Dvorský could outskate his opposition in transition, building up speed with crossovers and gaining the zone through the middle before dishing the puck to one of his wingers. There were occasional playmaking flashes from the boards to the middle, too. However, they started to appear less and less frequently as his confidence started to plummet near the end of his time with the team.

Even if things didn't work out with IK Oskarhamn, Dvorský is still a blue chip prospect, our 23rd-ranked outside of the NHL in our last top 100 countdown. He wasn't terrible, even if he also wasn't productive or that impactful. This stint didn't do his stock any favours, but it probably shouldn't be held against him too much, depending on how he performs in his next team.

According to reports, the next team will be the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL.

Given the choice was between that and the AHL, the Blues definitely made the right call. Playing in the AHL wouldn't have made much sense for Dvorský's development. If you're struggling in the SHL, you're very unlikely to find success in the AHL, even if Dvorský's play style has historically lended itself quite well to pro-style hockey. This option would've very likely just stunted his growth further.

Instead, a move to a contending OHL team is just what Dvorský needs at this point in his career.

With Dvorský, it's never been an issue with a lack of tools. In the OHL, he'll get to work on putting those tools together to form a more dynamic offensive skill set while maintaining a solid defensive and physical presence. The move should help him to regain the lost confidence and help undo the damage caused by the lacklustre start to the season.

A fresh start like that is just what Dvorský needs right now.

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This article is about:
NHL Prospects IK Oskarshamn St. Louis Blues Sudbury Wolves SHL OHL Dalibor Dvorský
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