2015 NHL Draft: Pavel Zacha Profile And Scouting Report

As the 2015 NHL Draft approaches it is time to have a look at a few prospects who the Dallas Stars could select with the 12th overall pick.

Today's Profile is on Pavel Zacha, a forward with the OHL's Sarnia Sting.

Pavel Zacha, Center / Left Wing, 6-foot-3, 200 Pounds, Shoots Left
Regular Season Team GP G A P +/- PIMs
2013-2014 Bili Tygri Liberec (Czech) 38 4 4 8 -2 10
2014-2015 Sarnia Sting (OHL) 37 16 18 34 +5 56
2014-2015 Sarnia Sting 5 2 1 3 -4 10

Sometimes the numbers just don't tell the whole story.

When you look at this season's stats for Czech forward Pavel Zacha, just 34 points in 37 games for the OHL's Sarnia Sting, you begin to wonder how such a player is consistently finding himself in the Top 10 of most draft rankings. If Zacha is that good, why are his scoring numbers so low?

Well, how about the fact that this season was his first in North America, away from his family and friends in his home country of the Czech Republic?

Or that he was playing on one of the worst teams in the OHL?

Or that he missed time for two suspensions (one for a slew-foot for two games, and another six-game suspension for boarding)?

Or that he missed time because of injury?

In reality, it's a combination of all four, creating a challenging, inconsistent season where Zacha never had the opportunity to really get into a groove. And it's a darn shame, too, because those numbers don't come close to showcasing the true talent level that Zacha brings to the table.

Out of every player available this draft, few can match Zacha's completeness. Size? Check. Skating? Check. Puck control? Check. Pro-level shot? Big time check. No matter what you're looking for in a draft-eligible forward, Zacha can do a little bit of everything. Some of those components, such as his defensive game and his playmaking, aren't fully up to snuff, but others, such as his wicked wrist shot and absolute cannon of a one-timer, are at or near the top of the draft class.

Zacha plays the exact sort of style that most NHL teams drool over, combining great size with an abundance of legitimate skill. While there are real concerns that he had some trouble putting all the pieces together during the regular season he silenced many critics with an excellent showing at the World U18 tournament, scoring five goals in five games. Internationally, he also represented his country at the past two World Juniors, scoring two points in five games as a 17 year-old this past winter.

He's projected in most places to go within the Top 10 this year, but the Dallas Stars will have a very, very hard time passing up on him if he drops down to 12th. The Stars have shown their affection towards big forwards over the past few drafts, and Zacha also has the skating ability to keep up with all of the speedy players that would be surrounding him. The fact that he can play both center and left wing is icing on the cake.

Further reading:

Future Considerations:

The top Czech prospect for the 2015 draft…a big boy who is pretty physical for his age…he will hit you because that's what he does…goes hard to the net and is relentless on the forecheck, which can be a scary sight for the opposing defensemen…has a strong shot that is both hard and accurate… good one-timer…prefers a shot to a pass…willing, but immature game defensively…goes back to defend the crease and knows how to use the stick in the defensive zone…good on PK where he gets his frame into lanes and just clears the puck when he gets the chance…patient player with good vision, soft hands and the ability to make one-on-one dekes…strong skater with good balance, but needs to get faster.

Last Word On Sports:

The first overall pick in the CHL Import Draft, the Sting convinced the Czech star to join the team in Sarnia. Zacha has been a star at the international level playing in the Under 18s two years in a row, as well in the Ivan Hlinka and the last two World Juniors. Recently some injury issues have kept him out of the Sting lineup, but Zacha has shown off his talents when he has been healthy with 11 goals and 23 points in 26 games. He has the skills to be a power forward at the NHL level, but also possesses elite skill. He is a good skater with a powerful stride that can help him to drive the net and has the soft hands to finish in close. His wrist shot has great power and a hair trigger release. His vision and passing skill is also decent, but Zacha is very much a shoot first kind of player.