Shift Work: Jan Myšák

Tony Ferrari

2019-12-17

Photo courtesy of https://isport.blesk.cz/

 

Welcome back to Shift Work! The series where I take a look at a draft-eligible player and breakdown a game tape.  I’ll be bringing you some comprehensive breakdowns of a player’s game as we go over an entire game of tape from a player. We will be focusing in on that player’s shifts and getting a peek at what the average game of that player looks like. We won’t cover every shift, but we will go over most of the shifts that the player played an active role in. We will be highlighting a lot of things that scouts and evaluators look for when they are watching a player’s game.

 

I couldn’t do this nearly as easy if it weren’t for collaboration with Prospect Shifts. The subscription-based website ($5/$10 options available) that takes a draft-eligible player and produces a video with only that player’s shifts. It cuts out the rest of the game, the commercials and intermissions making it much less time consuming to get a quick view on a player for scouts, writers and analysts alike. 

 

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This week we will be focusing on Jan Myšák, the Czech center/winger who is playing in the Czech ExtraLiga. Due to the fact that he plays in a bit of an obscure league, to North American’s at least, he doesn’t get the exposure to the general draft community but with a chance to make the World Junior team and a near guarantee that he will be playing at the World U18 tournament in the spring, he could be a player that jumps out at analysts and fans alike. When asked about Myšák, Dobber Prospects European writer/analyst Samuel Tirpák had this to say about him, 

 

Jan Myšák is extremely talented forward who can play both center and wing positions and both effectively. He needs to work on his skating a little. He has highly developed offensive skills that allow him to be dangerous in all offensive situations. He can shoot very well and he can make plays just as well. Definitely has top-six potential in NHL.
 

The young Czech forward plays with speed and creativity. He loves having the puck on his stick and he doesn’t hesitate to shoot the puck. Myšák’s smooth stride and ability to gain speed quickly help him gain the time and space he needs to be effective in all three zones. Jan Myšák loves to be the catalyst in transition and enters the zone with possession of the puck far more often than not. Let’s dive into Myšák’s game against BK Mlada Boleslav on December 3rd, 2019 and take a look at what makes the top Czech prospect a player to watch as the season goes on. 

 

First Period

 

 

In Myšák’s (#91 in Black) first shift of the game (above), he starts in a good defensive position as the opposition moves the puck around the offensive zone. He does an excellent job of occupying space in the middle of the ice between the circle. Understanding that a shot from the blue line is less dangerous than one from the slot, he protects the slot while keeping an eye on the defenceman at the point. Once the puck goes to the blue line, Myšák attacks the puck carrier closing the gap and forcing the puck to be moved. After pressuring the puck, he is able to gather the puck along the boards and begins out of the zone. Although he loses the puck initially, he gets it back quickly and transitions to the offensive zone. Once gaining entry with the puck, he crosses to the middle of the ice. Ideally, you’d like to see him get a little deeper in the zone before shooting, this was a very solid first shift of the game on both ends of the ice. 

 

 

In the shift above, we see Myšák enter his defensive zone as the high forward. One of the subtle things that he does well in just about every defensive situation is the constant head movement. You can see Myšák constantly shoulder checking and ensuring that he doesn’t let his opponents gain too much space and this helps ensure that he can stay between the puck carrier and the open defender at the point. 

 

 

Myšák is an aggressive forechecker in the offensive and neutral zone. He is tenacious on the puck carrier and consistently affects the ability of his opponents to make a crisp pass. In the clip above, he receives a pass and enters the zone. He then puts the puck down low behind the net. He tracks the puck, getting the front of the net to ensure that he is in both a good offensive position and in a strong enough position to apply a good forecheck. Once the puck is on the sticks of his opponent, Myšák eliminates space and helps force a sloppy breakout by applying a solid forecheck and backpressure. With the puck in the neutral zone, Myšák is tenacious in ensuring that the puck remained on his team’s sticks before going for a line change. This neutral zone play is an example of mature play from a 17-year-old. 

 

 

Myšák’s skating is on full display on his next shift. We see him gather a pass in his own zone and immediately turn up ice. When he sees the open ice in front of him, he begins to pick up speed and shows good control of the puck as he flies through the neutral zone. He avoids defenders, cutting to the middle of the ice as he enters the offensive zone with control of the puck but his pass is just off and broken up by an opposing defender. While some players will loop around and follow the play as the late man back, Myšák immediately goes on the hunt for the puck. A combination of the backpressure that Myšák applies and the linemate that steps up in the neutral zone helps create a turnover that winds up right on Myšák’s stick. While he is met with physicality, Myšák ensures that the puck is pushed deep into the zone at the end of a long shift and gets the chance to ensure he isn’t trying to do too much or getting caught in a bad spot should the opposition move up the ice. 

 

 

In the final minute of the period, Myšák is again an active defender to begin the clip. He is the low forward, aiding in clogging the middle of the ice to ensure that the team’s defensive structure is sound. He then engages in a board battle. While he doesn’t outright win the battle, he does angle off the opposing player which forces him to turn the puck up the boards. Myšák then shows off his speed by not only poking the puck past the blueliner, but he corrals it in the neutral zone and gets a very good scoring chance as he pulls away from everyone on the ice in just a few strides. He is stopped on the breakaway but the generation of offense in a men’s league is very promising. 

 

 

A solid first period where Myšák was given ample opportunity in terms of ice-time. He was often beginning shifts in the neutral or defensive zone and he did a very good job of making sure the puck ended up in the offensive zone. Myšák showed very strong positioning and a tenacious attitude when his team wasn’t in possession of the puck. His first period was the kind of play that endears a player to a coach because of his responsible play. 

 

Second Period

 

Myšák’s opportunities weren’t as plentiful in the second frame as there was a lot of special teams play and he didn’t get his first shift until almost seven minutes had elapsed in the period but he was able to show his skills in the limited ice-time. 

 

 

Myšák’s first shift of the middle period was his worst shift of the game. He didn’t necessarily do a poor job but it was a shift where his usual jump just didn’t seem to be there. He had a chance to clear the puck from his end of the ice and he weakly dumped it off the boards into mid-ice essentially giving the puck back to the opposition. After the puck is worked around the defensive zone it is turned up ice giving Myšák’s team offensive zone time but Myšák peels off and goes for a quick line chnage. It seemed like an “off” shift that Myšák doesn’t frequently have so the concern meter isn’t triggered. 

 

 

In his following shift, above, Myšák is back to his usual play. He is in good defensive positioning, engaging the board battles and helping disrupt clean passes. He does this multiple times which allows his team to regain control of the puck. Once this happens, Myšák fires up the ice and is the second man on a two-on-one. He is set up for a good shot but misses the net, unfortunately. Myšák’s persistence of the defensive side of the puck often leads to turnovers that lead to offense. 

 

 

Myšák’s final shift of the middle frame is an excellent offensive zone shift where he and his linemates control the puck with ease. They do a great job of moving the puck and cycling it to get the defensive unit defending. Myšák is the first man into the corner and he sends the puck to his teammate on the opposite side of the ice by ringing the puck around the boards. He then joins the cycle and attacks the front of the net as he rotates through the play. This creates confusion for the defenders and allows multiple scoring chances that are quite cashed in on. Myšák and his linemates show that they are putting the pieces together but can’t quite solve the puzzle just yet. 

 

Third Period

 

Myšák gets much more consistent deployment in the third period and is able to collect an assist at the tail end of the game, rewarding him for the hard work and persistence in this game.