Prospect Ramblings: Taking a look at Martin Chromiak
Kingston Frontenacs forward Martin Chromiak warms up prior to his Ontario Hockey League game against the Erie Otters at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston on Friday January 3, 2020. Ian MacAlpine-Kingston Whig-Standard
For this Sunday’s Prospect Ramblings, I’ve decided to look at a couple of Martin Chromiak shifts. Chromiak is a 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Ilava, Slovakia. He is a 6’0”, 181 lbs left-winger and is right-handed.
This season, Chromiak has split his time between HK Dukla Trencin (Slovakian Extraliga) and the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). He decided to join Kingston shortly after he was cut from the Slovakian World Junior squad. Since the Kingston Frontenacs owned his CHL rights and that Chromiak was not playing in a dominant European league, he decided to make the move to Canada.
Since coming to Kingston, he has joined Shane Wright (2022 NHL Draft eligible prospect) and Zayde Wisdom (2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect) on the Frontenacs’ top offensive unit. Together, the trio has been unbeatable. In 24 games with the Frontenacs, Chromiak has tallied 11 goals and 20 assists.
In the first shift, right off the faceoff draw at center ice, Chromiak reacts to Kingston losing the draw and immediately goes on the forecheck. After Chromiak and the Frontenacs don’t wind up with possession of the puck off the forecheck, the Flint Firebirds end up going on a rush into the Kingston zone. Shortly after the Firebirds attempt to storm the zone, the Frontenacs make a strong defensive play at the blue-line to pick up the puck. At this point, Chromiak is along the half-wall (not far from the Bud Light sign). Chromiak picks up the puck off a pass from one of his defensemen. He tries to swing the puck out of the defensive zone but fails as the Firebirds manage to intercept the dump-out. Right after the interception, the Firebirds attempts a shot in the slot, but it gets blocked and the Frontenacs grab possession of the puck once again. Yet again, the Frontenacs attempt a dump-out, but this time they manage to get the puck out of the zone. At the tail end of the clip, you see Chromiak and Wisdom deploying a forecheck in an effort to regain the puck. But, the forecheck fails and the Firebirds rush into the Frontenacs zone once more before the shift ends.
The second shift is in the offensive zone. Off the draw, Chromiak skates towards the Firebirds net. He sees his defenseman Jakob Brahaney skate behind the Firebirds net with the puck, but once Brahaney gets to the half-wall and loses possession of the puck, Chromiak reacts quickly and goes to the half-wall. Chromiak grabs possession of the loose puck and appears to attempt a pass to Wright. Unfortunately, the puck does not end up on Wright’s stick and the Firebirds now have control of the puck. After the Firebirds’ rush into the Kingston zone does not become a fruitful one, Wisdom collects the puck and exits his zone. He finds Chromiak along the half-wall in the neutral zone and delivers a pass to his left-winger. Chromiak completes a controlled zone entry and once he gets into the offensive zone on the right side of the ice, he completes a swing pass behind him to Wisdom. Wisdom then finds Wright in the slot and Wright buries it.
In the third shift, we get to see a glimpse of Chromiak on the Kingston top power-play unit. Chromiak lines up along the point on the left side of the ice. Chromiak will shift up and down the left side. He keeps a strong eye on Wright, his counterpart on the right side of the ice. When Wright falls back to the blue-line, you will see Chromiak shift up towards the net and vice-versa. Given that Wright has a strong shot from just outside of the perimeter, this power-play sequence is built for Wright. He has the most lethal shot on the unit and the Frontenacs’ coaching staff sets up the unit around him. At the fourteen second mark in the clip, we see Wright at the faceoff circle and he delivers a cross-ice pass to Chromiak. Chromiak then feeds the puck to Brahaney. At this point, Chromiak shifts up the half-wall as Brahaney pivots and completes a pass to Wright, who is headed back towards the blue-line. Wright takes the puck to the edge of the perimeter and shoots when he gets to the border. Wright capitalizes and grabs the power-play goal for the Frontenacs.
From these three shifts, you can see that Chromiak has a strong hockey IQ. He is always reading his teammates and quickly pin-points where on the ice that he needs to be. In addition, Chromiak is constantly looking for the puck. He jumps on loose pucks and consistently forechecks when his opponent is in their own zone with the puck. In terms of his skating, he is not the sleekest skater on the ice, but he has a quality stride and deploys cross-overs well when he shifts up and down the half-wall. His turn radius is rather tight, which is particularly helpful in situations such as when a forecheck fails, he can quickly regroup and skate back to his own zone.
All-in-all, Chromiak looks like he could be a solid second-round selection on the draft night. He has top-six upside and can be pivotal on special teams. There is a lot to like about the Slovakian national.
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