We were very impressed with our first look at Daniel Přibyl, the 6-03, 189 lb. center from the Czech Republic, at the Habs Development Camp last July.
The 19-year-old Canadiens’ prospect started the season with HC Sparta Prague playing 17 games in the Czech Extraliga league. Přibyl was then loaned to Berounští Medvědi, where he excelled, finishing third on the team in scoring with nine goals in 21 games played. His veteran teammates David Jonáš (10 goals in 37 games) and David Švagrovský (15 goals in 51 games) played in significantly more contests.
Clearly, Přibyl has a scoring touch.
All Habs Hockey Magazine enlisted the assistance of Radoslav Vavřina of Bílí Tygři Liberec to keep an eye on Přibyl throughout the season for us. Radoslav provided you with a first glimpse here and has returned to our pages with the following update.
Liberec, Czech Republic — At the beginning of the current hockey season, then 18-year-old Habs prospect Daniel Přibyl, drafted 168th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, was believed to be a steal for the Canadiens organization. In the pre-season, he posted unbelievably great performances for a player of his age and continued delivering them in the first games of Czech Extraliga regular season. His team, HC Sparta Prague, quickly found a way to the top of Extraliga’s standings and Přibyl kept on contributing. Although he collected only two goals and no assists in 17 games, he was a useful asset for the older of two Prague’s Extraliga teams.
However, the team is full of stars and accomplished hockey players, who proved to be better than the young native of Písek, the same town where Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes originates. Sparta decided to reassign Přibyl to its minor league affiliation, Berounští Medvědi (Czech for Beroun Bears). He was put there alongside some more Sparta’s prospects and the list of his teammates includes Jaroslav Nedvěd, older brother of former NHL superstar, Petr Nedvěd.
During this season, Přibyl has collected nine goals and 13 points in the minor league, adding one point for the Team Czech Republic at the WJC in Alberta.
On Saturday, February 19, the Bears travelled to Hradec Králové, one of the largest cities of the country, to meet one of traditional league title contenders, HC VCES. Unlike Hradec, Beroun’s position in the league’s standings is really desperate. Currently, the only team behind them is Most, which can be compared to current Columbus Blue Jackets – last with almost no hope of reaching any team above them. Right now, the Bears are in the playouts, where they’ll try to avoid relegation.
The Bears carried their desperation to the game in Hradec and it could be seen clearly. Against the much stronger opponent, they found hard to make any successful passes or reach deep into the offensive zone. However, they created some opportunities and lost the game by a 4-3 deficit. Přibyl played on the team’s second line and fired three shots on goal, and many more wide of the cage. The net was guarded by a former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound Jakub Čech, who stoned Přibyl on all of his accurate attempts. The young forward played first as a right wing, but midway through the game, he switched to the left wing, where he seemed a better fit. On the left wing, all of his five passes found the receiving end, while on the right wing, just two of four went where Přibyl intended them.
The stint with the Bears is really useful for Přibyl, because he gets a lot more ice time than he’d receive in the Extraliga. He is also trusted when it comes to the penalty kill, enabling him to develop his defensive skills. He showed some nice play at his own end, despite ending up with minus-2 in his stats. Even though he seemed a bit more nervous than with Sparta, he seemed much more mature. His highlight of the night came with time running down in the third, the Bears trying to erase the one-goal lead on a man-advantage when he delivered a highlight-reel pass to the doorstep. The receiver, however, didn’t convert it into the game-tying goal.
Přibyl played 13 minutes and 51 seconds overall, 3 minutes and 19 seconds on powerplay and a minute and 30 seconds killing penalties. This time, he really looked a lot like Aleš Hemský, the player he said to like his style on @czechtacular ‘s comprehensive bio. Despite being stuck in the minor league, remember names like Patrik Berglund or Fabian Brunnström, who jumped into the NHL straight (or almost straight) from lower Swedish leagues.
(Featured photo courtesy of Berounští Medvědi)