Simple, smooth-skating defensive defenseman with smart positioning and solid scanning habits. Will likely become a bottom-pair shutdown specialist, but could improve his way to a second-pair role.
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June 2023 – Štrbák was selected 45th overall by the Sabres. Pat Quinn
June 2023 – Štrbák is a defenseman who has always played above his age, dating back to last year’s World Juniors. He was pointless in four games in the 2022 tournament, but managed to get on the scoreboard in 2023 with three assists in five games, as well as six assists in seven games as captain of the U18 squad which lost to Canada in the bronze medal game. His 18 points in 46 games as a rookie for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede are also worth noting.
No matter who he faces, though, Štrbák’s game does not waver. He is very consistent and dependable in what he brings to the table, although limited in what he does bring. He is a defence-oriented player with the main goal in mind to make it difficult for the opposition to set up shop in his zone. He is often found at the very end of the defensive formation, acting as a sweeper for any dump-ins using his solid footwork and edges. He can turn or stop on a dime, which helps him a ton on defensive zone retrievals, and he can more than hold his own physically, both in terms of technique and brute strength. Štrbák isn’t one to lower the boom every chance he gets, but when the need arises, he doesn’t shy away from a hit or two. Mainly, his defensive awareness, high-end scanning, and great skating do the work for him, and help him get sticks on pucks regularly. He fits the mold of a bottom-pair penalty-killing specialist at the NHL level, and his time at Michigan State will only further those abilities. If he adds some dare and offensive exploration to his game, he could slowly but surely develop the tools required to earn his fair share of points and perhaps work towards a middle-pairing role in the future. Hadi Kalakeche