Milan Kytnar (from Slovakia) is the final name on this winter’s top 20. It was not an easy choice as there are three players who are absolutely capable of developing into better NHLers than all but a few players on this list. The players who just missed this time are Josef Hrabal, Tyler Spurgeon and Andrew Perugini. More on them in a later post.
Kytnar is a player with a good range of skills. ISS said about him in their final report before the draft: “Reliable two-way center plays hard every shift. Great hand-eye, anticipates well, coachable. Strong skater with a minus first step, good hands and size. Accurate passer, can shadow his man. Good playmaker who sees the ice well. “
Kytnar spent the 07-08 season on the 3line with the Kelowna Rockets (62gp, 9-13-22) and didn’t draw much attention. However, this summer he was moved to the Saskatoon Blades who had other ideas about him. Blades GM Lorne Molleken: “We want him to be our No. 1 centre. We think he’s very capable. He plays with some determination and defensively he’s very responsible, so that’s a bonus.”
Kytnar has flourished this season in Saskatoon. 6.01, 197 (source: Cory Wolfe, Star Phoenix) and playing with more skilled wingers Kytnar is putting up points at an impressive rate (35gp, 9-16-25) and has surpassed last season’s point totals already. He’s also been named to the Slovakian team for the upcoming World Junior Championships over Christmas.
Molleken again: “If you watch him closely in the tight areas he does some amazing things with the puck. He’s playing with [Derek] Hulak and [Burke] Gallimore, two of our more offensively gifted guys and they have to be ready because he can make plays in between feet or over sticks. He’s a really intelligent player and we think that he’ll be a dominant player for us as the year progresses.”
Redline report called him a solid two-way player with good puck skills. He’s “in the group” with Riley Nash, Chris Vande Velde and Teemu Hartikainen, centermen with a range of skills. Kytnar is 4th among the group but he’s come a long way since summer.