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2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Hrabal

Michael Hrabal is a young goalie from the Czech Republic. What makes him special is his size and agility. Where might he go in the draft?

Michael Hrabal is a towering goalie hailing from Prague, Czech Republic, who’s found a lot of attention as an NHL prospect. Perhaps that’s mostly about his impressive size – he’s 6-feet-6 and weighs 209 pounds. However, with that size comes an amazing amount of agility. Those two things together make Hrabal something special. He’s also a ton of fun to watch. 

Currently, Hrabal is playing for the Omaha Lancers in the USHL. There he’s shown promise with his performance. With the Lancers, he’s also shown enough that scouts believe he has the requisite skills to achieve success at the NHL level. 

Michael Hrabal NHL 2023 Draft prospect profile

Hrabal’s Athleticism and Potential

Hrabal’s remarkable size gives him a significant advantage in the net. But what makes him so successful is that he’s able to move with the fluidity of a smaller goalie because of his impressive athleticism. This combination of size and agility makes it difficult for opposing shooters to beat him, even in one-on-one situations. Most goals he gives up are on rebounds.

Even better for the young Czech, there’s also room to grow and develop further. In short, Hrabal possesses the potential to become a dominant force in the crease.

College Commitment and International Experience

One notable consideration about drafting Hrabal is that he’s already committed to the University of Massachusetts for the 2024-25 season. From my perspective, it’s a smart move. Playing at the NCAA level will give him valuable opportunities to refine his skills as well as prepare for life after hockey. 

Hrabal has represented Czechia in international tournaments. In that international play, he’s demonstrated his ability to perform against top-level competition. His .927 save percentage and 2.43 goals-against-average for the Czechian junior team showcase his ability to rise to the occasion.

Scouting Report

As noted, Hrabal possesses remarkable athleticism and agility for a goaltender of his size stature. He’s comfortable in his own skin, it seems. His fluid movements and strong skating enable him to make impressive saves. In addition, his powerful push-off while moving side-to-side allows him to cover the net effectively. Opposing forwards find it challenging to beat Hrabal in one-on-one situations and when attempting shots without traffic.

The Czechian goalie’s poise in the net translates to all-level of competition. As noted, that’s been evident in his solid performances with the Czechian junior team. Hrabal has exhibited the ability to elevate his play against tougher opponents. By doing so, he’s demonstrated his competitiveness and mental strength.

Areas for Improvement

While Hrabal’s athleticism is impressive, he would benefit from utilizing his size more effectively. Playing higher in the crease would enhance his ability to see shots from the point and limit second-chance opportunities near the net front. His tendency is to play deep in the crease, which can leave him vulnerable to rebounds. That propensity could be exploited at the NHL level.

There’s still much to learn.

Future Outlook, Projection, and NHL Comparison

Despite being projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick, Hrabal has shown enough skill that, when combined with his impressive physical attributes and untapped potential, he’s become an intriguing prospect. He might go even higher in the draft than projected.

With his skating, his already well-defined abilities, and his room to grow, he has the potential to develop into a starting goaltender at the NHL level. As is the case for younger goalies, there might be some growing pains along the way.

Some have compared him to NHL goalie Jakob Markstrom.

The Bottom Line

Hrabal’s combination of size, athleticism, and poise make him a young goalie to watch. With his quick reflexes and his ability to make saves look easy, he is seen to have the tools to become a strong goaltender. 

He needs to improve on his positioning and play with a bit more of an edge if he hopes to thrive at the NHL level. Despite these challenges, Hrabal looks like he can become a starting NHL goaltender.

Hrabal’s potential is undeniable. With the right development and guidance, he could develop into a brick wall in the net, capable of leading a team to success. While projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick, his combination of size, agility, and untapped skills makes him an enticing prospect for goaltender-needy franchises.

Look for him to go higher in the draft than most young goalies.

Next: 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Oliver Bonk

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