With the 151st overall pick in the NHL draft, the Maple Leafs have selected 6’1, 187-pound right-shot centerman Miroslav Holinka of the Czech league (HC Ocelari Trinec).

The Leafs have continued targeting premium positions by selecting a right-handed center at pick #151. The team does not currently have a right-handed center in its NHL lineup, nor did it have one last season. Their most notable center prospect at the moment, Fraser Minten, is also left-handed.

Of course, Holinka won’t be making the NHL roster anytime soon—if ever—but it highlights how difficult it is to bring in these types of players (right-handed defensemen and centers), and the Leafs are trying to stock their cupboards at the premium positions.

Holinka is also a late birthday in this draft class; he was born in November of 2005 in a draft with a September 2006 cutoff. While he’s on the older side, he played in a man’s league in Czechia with teammates that included Martin Ruzicka and former Leafs fan favourite Martin Marinicin.

Miroslav Holinka pre-draft rankings:

  • Ranked #87 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
  • Ranked #206 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
  • Ranked #31 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)

Miroslav Holinka Scouting Report

courtesy of the 2024 Blackbook (BUY NOW)

A late born 2005, Miroslav Holinka split time this season between HC Ocelari Trinec’s U20 and top Czech league team. In U20, Holinka posted 41 points and 20 goals in 29 games in addition to 14 points in 15 playoff games while adding three points in 16 games in the top Czech league. Holinka earned his call-up due to his high intelligence and puck skills, which he will be looking to translate to a smaller ice surface. Next season, Holinka will return to Czechia to play with HC Ocelari Trinec and try to stick with the professional club for the year.

The intelligence Holinka provides his team on the ice in the form of his crafty two-way game shows up often in his defensive game with strong positioning and constant shoulder checks to know where his man is. He is very active in coverage. He does not leave the zone early and often supports his defensemen and wingers in getting the puck out of the zone by finding holes as the puck transitions up ice.

Offensively, his intelligence shows best down low where he can see the play and make passes with great vision to set his teammates up for good opportunities. However, while down low, he is not good physically and loses puck battles consistently along the boards. This art of his game will need significant improvement as the ice shrinks as he moves over to North America and the physical play only gets stronger.

Although he is a player who has offensive potential, he also has many translatable skills. Should the offensive talent not translate, he can still become a strong defensive forward at the NHL level with his deep forecheck that rushes defenders and quick hands that can be used to steal the puck from attackers. At the moment, Holinka uses his hands in both zones and has an impressive rush attack with finesse where he can move the puck outside to inside quickly around defenders.

Holinka’s skill is not game-breaking. However, combined with his vision, he can produce offensively, especially with his shot. Holinka has a good arsenal of shots with good weight behind them, including his one-timer on the power play and his snap shot. He typically shoots from the outside but plays the middle of the ice as well, mostly looking for a pass option.

He does have an okay first step, but he does not possess great straightaway speed and does not move quickly laterally despite his fluid edgework. Holinka has good balance and control of his feet to complement a wide and powerful stance when protecting the puck down low in both zones.

It wouldn’t hurt him to get accustomed to the smaller ice surface as soon as he can to refine his skills with less space available. The biggest want from his game is to improve his physical play, and the smaller ice surface will promote more physical activity due to the lack of space compared to the larger ice surfaces in Europe.

Miroslav Holinka Statistics

2021-2022Djurgårdens IF U16U16 Div.124591434|
Djurgårdens IF U16U16 SM82358|
2022-2023Leksands IF J18J18 Region2012320|
Leksands IF J18J18 Nationell1410145|Playoffs10000
2023-2024Leksands IF J18J18 Region50114|
Leksands IF J18J18 Nationell30114|Playoffs40110
Leksands IF J20J20 Nationell3426820|Playoffs501122
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