Central European Stock Watch: Matěj Maštalířský making a case for himself as a draft re-entry
In the aftermath of the Czech Extraliga's trade deadline, there's a heightened sense of urgency across the league as teams battle it out for playoff positioning. The hockey is intense, the stakes are high, and this is when the wheat separates itself from the chaff.
It's a tough environment for a developing prospect to thrive in, but there are three such players who've stood out in the last little bit, and they lead the way in this month's edition of the Central European Stock Watch.
Stock Rising 📈
Matěj Maštalířský, F, HC Verva Litvínov (2024 NHL Draft, re-entry)
You may know Matěj Maštalířský from his depth role on the Czech team that captured bronze at the World Juniors in Gothenburg, but he's also been one of the pleasant surprises in Czechia since the turn of the calendar. He's a versatile forward who brings an interesting tool kit to the table with a decent skating stride and a shot that can do damage from range. And he's putting those tools to good use of late, with two goals and an assist in his last five games.
Jakub Kos, F, HC Kometa Brno (Florida Panthers)
The return to Czechia has served Jakub Kos well. The Panthers draft pick has a nice blend of physical tools with size, speed, and skill to spare, and it's made him a force on the forecheck and a productive player since joining Kometa Brno. He's also been a great connector between defence and offence for his line, able to carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate entries with ease. If he can continue his progress in the Extraliga, that'll be a good sign for his NHL prospects.
Adam Najman, F, Bílí Tygři Liberec (free agent)
You won't find many more fearless forwards than Adam Najman. He's always right in the thick of the action, willing to pay a price to generate offence, whether that's planting himself in the crease or battling for loose pucks. With the puck on his stick, it's Najman's playmaking that stands out the most, as exemplified by his five points (four assists) in his last five games. Najman has aged out of the draft, but this is someone you may read about in this year's European free agent guide.
Stock Steady ↔️
Daniel Pekař, F, Bílí Tygři Liberec (2024 NHL Draft)
Daniel Pekař's in his first year of draft eligibility, but the path to walking that stage seems thorny at this point. When he's at his best, Pekař is a skilled handler and hasn't had much difficulty dangling his way through opponents. Bílí Tygři Liberec has taken notice and called him up to their men's team, but he's pointless through 16 games and that certainly isn't helping his stock.
Stock Falling 📉
Jaromír Pytlík, F, Rytíři Kladno (New Jersey Devils)
Despite being a former fourth-round pick with high expectations, Jaromír Pytlík has struggled to live up to even his modest draft billing. He's only got one point in his last 11 Extraliga contests, an assist, and is stuck at 11 points total through 35 contests. He's always been known as more of an all-around player, but if you can't be a difference-maker in the Extraliga, then you don't have a hope of making the NHL.