Sometimes all of the planets align and everything falls into place so perfectly that making a decision is an absolute 'no-brainer' and win-win for everyone.
That's exactly what happened when the Saginaw Spirit and GM Dave Drinkill selected Detroit prospect, Filip Hronek (roe-nick) with the 14th overall pick in the first round of the CHL import draft earlier this afternoon.
“Filip Hronek is a player that makes the Saginaw Spirit a better hockey team moving forward,” Drinkill said. “Hronek has high end skill and is a right (hand) shot, puck moving defenseman that will help our power play and generate offense from our back end.”
“He is a second round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings and now will be able to play down the road where they (Detroit) can watch him develop as the season goes on.”
The Spirit had two picks (14th in the first round, and 74th in the second round) in the annual two-round CHL import draft, but only used the one pick, as CHL rules prohibit more than two European players on a roster per season.
The Spirit already have Edmonton Oilers draft pick Markus Niemeläinen (from Finland) on their roster. A second import spot opened up when former Spirit winger Artem Artemov signed with HC Sibir Novosibirsk of the Kontinental Hockey League in his native Russia earlier this spring.
Hronek -18- is a 6-foot, 163-pound defenseman from Hradec Králové, Czech Republic. He was drafted in the second round (53 overall) at the 2016 NHL entry draft in Buffalo, NY by the Detroit Red Wings.
He was ranked the eighth best European skater by NHL central scouting coming into this past weekends draft. He had 2 assists competing for the Czech Republic at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland this past January.
In 2015-16 he played for Mountfield HK of the Czech Extraliga, which is a men's professional ice hockey league in the Czech Republic.
Scout's call Hronek a solid two-way defender who is a very good passer. He's an intellectual speedy defender with a fluid stride who is very good on the power play, giving the Spirit two of the better offensive-defensemen for their power play next season in the OHL.
With Hronek (Detroit), Niemeläinen (Edmonton), Keaton Middleton (Toronto), and Evan Cormier (New Jersey), Drinkill has now given recently hired Spirit coach Spencer Carbery three NHL drafted defensemen and an NHL drafted goalie as a head start in building a championship organization.
“The addidtion of Hronek gives our organization three NHL drafted defensemen for our head coach Spencer Carbery to work with,” Drinkill said. “We are excited to welcome Filip to the organization and look forward to what the season has in store.”