(Editor's note: There's not a ton of information about Felcman out there on the internet, so this article will remain available to non-subscribers as well.)
Seeing an 18-year-old center listed at 6-foot-4 lives rent-free as a daydream among NHL coaches and GMs. If nothing else, it's a good place to start.
And Jiri Felcman, the other third-round pick made by the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft may also come along with a bit more than just a big frame.
- Position: Center
- Age: 18 (April 18, 2005)
- Nation: Czechia
- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 198 pounds
- Shoots: Left
- Teams: Langnau U20 (Switzerland) and Czechia U18 (WJC)
- Production: 31 points (10 G, 21 A) in 40 games for Langnau; 5 points (3 G, 2 A) for Czechia in the U-18 World Juniors
Felcman has some great size and moves well. He's shown that he can use his body in the crease, screening netminders and deflecting shots. He's also able to direct traffic while in transition. When coming through the crease, he's been able to use his more than capable hands to find the back of the net in a hurry or defer to the open man for a better shot.
Eduard Sale to Jiri Felcman and Czechia cuts the lead to 4-2 pic.twitter.com/I6lEeWvhyI— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) April 25, 2023
Although he is a bigger forward, Felcman has put his ability to deke on full display. He employs some nice moves and has a bit of finesse to his offensive game.
His awareness on the ice has led to some nice takeaways and set-ups as well.
Jan Šprynar scores after a nice individual effort by Jiří Felcman, 2-2. pic.twitter.com/lyisieG0J4— Czech Prospects (@CZprospects) April 16, 2022
Definitely a project pick for Chicago but he has everything you would want in a two-way centre, if he develops well he could see some NHL time. Picked in round 3 by Chicago (93rd) I had him in the 140s but it’s clear Chicago see the upside to him.— Joe Maciag (@JoeMaciag2) June 30, 2023
Chicago takes another player I really like in Jiri Felcman.— Jared Brown (@JaredBrownn97) June 29, 2023
Big, strong man down the middle who is a solid skater, can transport the puck through the NZ with his feet. He's strong on the puck in battles and has a quick stick to dispossess his opponents.#2023NHLDraft
Unfortunately, there is not a vast array of scouting reports or tape available on Felcman. The jury will remain out on his overall 200-foot game for a while, and learning how to play well in all three zones could certainly take some time. Some players who can't quite hang at center once they hit the NHL also end up being moved to the wing. Given Felcman's size and skill, though, the hope is that he'll continue to develop as a true center.
This could end up being a really good pick for the Blackhawks if Felcman develops, as a center with size and skill always looks good on paper. But there's a long road between the NHL and where Felcman is now in his development. It'll be worth keeping an eye on his development over the next few seasons, though, to see where he could possibly slot into a future NHL lineup upon his arrival in North America.