2015 NHL Draft Profiles: Pavel Zacha

Pavel Zacha, 6’3 Centre/Winger, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

Pavel Zacha Rankings:

  • 10th by ISS Hockey
  • 13th by Future Considerations
  • 5th McKeen’s Hockey
  • 7th by Bob Mckenzie consensus rankings

Pavel Zacha Strengths:

  • Elite goal scoring – Without a doubt one of the best pure goal scorers of this draft class, he can put the puck in the net in a variety of ways; he possesses a powerful one-timer that he loves to release just off the side of the faceoff circle on the powerplay in a very Stamkos-esque fashion; he has the stickhandling ability to weave off the wing and score on the rush and did I mention he has one of the best wrist shots of his class? There is easily 35+ goal potential here.
  • Physicality – This is a player who can be an absolute beast on the puck; he is fast, strong and very difficult to knock off the puck; he has an explosive skating stride and the ability to simply bully his way to the net on the rush; he plays without fear and is willing to stand up and receive or dish out a key momentum-changing hit.

Pavel Zacha Criticisms:

  • Consistency – This is a player with top 5 talent but it’s rumored that he could drop as low as the mid-teens due to his lack of predictability on a night-to-night basis and mediocre bottom line statistics; on the nights where he doesn’t have it, he can appear disengaged and immature, sometimes criticized for taking ill-advised or reckless penalties.
  • Defensive play – The defensive zone coverage and willingness to back check have remained question marks all year and it’s quite likely to grade out as below average at the next level; giveways and high risk turnovers can be a concern.

The Verdict:

  • Elite goal scoring machine – So much potential. His explosive drive and terrifying offensive package reminds me of Vladimir Tarasenko. He could absolutely be a top flight sniper at the NHL level.
  • Draft Day – Zacha is easily the most polarizing player of this year’s draft class; a team that falls in love with his tantalizing package of skill and physicality could make a play for him with picks 6 -10; though it’s more likely he’ll slide just outside the top 10.

Experts Take: Pavel Zacha

Mark Edwards (@MarkEdwardsHP) speaking about Pavel Zacha on The Pipeline Show:
He has been fantastic every time. I saw him in Sochi two years ago and he was a fourth liner and a double underager at that time. Really impressed me. I loved watching him in what shifts he got. And then I thought he was average at best in Finland at the U18s last year, which was the next time I had seen him. He just kind of left me wanting more a lot of the time last April. Since he’s been in a Sarnia uniform – in all of my viewings, it’s not like I watch every game, I think I’ve seen him about five times or so in a Sarnia uniform – he’s been great. Our ranking, we’ve got him at four. Plays a really physical game, another smart player, he’s got great vision. I think he’s got great playmaking skills. Then, obviously, the size and skating, when you have that talent behind you, that’s what has scouts talking about him. The NHL scouts I’ve talked to – I haven’t talked to many in recent weeks, but earlier in the season – everybody was loving him.

Craig Button (@CraigJButton) speaking about Pavel Zacha on The Pipeline Show:
I think the biggest thing with Pavel is that you watch him when he was a little bit younger and you saw this player that you thought might be a real offensive dynamo, that big centerman. I don’t see that. I don’t see a real elite offensive player. I see a player along the lines of a Radek Faksa, and that’s a good player; there’s nothing wrong with Radek Faksa and there’s nothing with Pavel Zacha. In the middle of the ice, I think you have to be able to make plays and be able to distribute the puck. I think Pavel Zacha might be better served as a winger, because he can skate, and he’s got determination, and he’s got a pretty good shot; he gets hungry around the net. To me, I really don’t see him as that real top-end centerman. I’m going to see more of him, and I reserve the right to change my mind, but that’s where I’m at.

Pavel Zacha Statistics

2009-10HC Kometa Brno U16Czech U16100000
2010-11Bili Tygri Liberec U16Czech U16241211231220
Bili Tygri Liberec U18Czech U18310102
2011-12Bili Tygri Liberec U16Czech U16332639654642
Bili Tygri Liberec U18Czech U18361015252016Playoffs723562
Bili Tygri Liberec U20Czech U2010000-1
Czech Republic U16 (all)International-Jr16347101
2012-13Bili Tygri Liberec U16Czech U1600000Playoffs300000
Bili Tygri Liberec U18Czech U1866713412Playoffs1101101
Bili Tygri Liberec U20Czech U203914264026-1Playoffs52240-1
HC Benatky nad JizerouÊCzech200000Playoffs100000
Czech Republic U17 (all)International-Jr156814168
Czech Republic U18WJC-18503323
Czech Republic U18 (all)International-Jr12167109
2013-14Bili Tygri Liberec U20Czech U201061117642Playoffs31124-3
Bili Tygri LiberecCzech3844810-2Playoffs30000-1
HC Benatky nad JizerouÊCzech2124596-2
Czech Republic U1832542|
Czech Republic U18 (all)International-Jr186511451
Czech Republic U20WJC-2050000-2
Czech Republic U20 (all)International-Jr60000-2
2014-15Sarnia StingOHL37161834565Playoffs521310-4
Czech Republic U18WJC-185505102
Czech Republic U18 (all)International-Jr-----
Czech Republic U20WJC-2051120-1
Czech Republic U20 (all)International-Jr-----

Pavel Zacha Video

Pavel Zacha – Shift by Shift:

Pavel Zacha – Highlights:

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