2021-22 Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Date of birth: February 12, 2004
Place of birth: Kladno, CZE
Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 190 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 First Year Eligibility
Matthias Sapovaliv is enjoying his first season in North America since drafting the 2021 CHL import draft overall in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Saginaw Spirit. In addition to playing internationally, he has so far only played in his native Czech.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
He has a big, tough body and his long reach that helps him break the game defensively and defend Pak aggressively. He’s not the biggest hitter, but he knows how to use his frame to win board battles on his own and in front and in front of the net. It comes in handy during power play, but it has the ability to push and unleash itself to create a drama.
Although he has a strong shot and a quick release, he is a bit more of a playmaker. He has great vision in all three zones. His soft hand helps his teammates transform into offensive areas through short touch-passes that they can take in full action. The ability to use his size to control the puck and check off gives him time to find gaps in defensive coverage and play a safe game.
In addition to his offensive ability, he is very responsible in the defensive zone and plays a good two-way game. He is adept at finding opposing defenders because they try to pinch the man and his position is good. As of the writing of this profile, he has taken more than 700 faceoffs and won more than 300 of his closest teammates, holding a little over 50% of the face-off percentage (FO%), all as a Rocky.
Sapovaliv’s biggest problem is his skating. He lacks agility and explosiveness and despite his strong two-way play, he needs to skate fast backwards to improve his defense. If he wants to quickly translate his attacking ability into the American Hockey League (AHL) and NHL level, he needs to improve his skating. There could be a difference between becoming a mid-six scoring forward and a bottom-six defensive forward.
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Matias Sapovaliv – NHL Draft Projection
Although he plays a relatively reliable two-way game, his skating can make some teams hesitant and it could bring him down a bit further from the draft chart. However, you should not be surprised to see him drafted somewhere in the second round.
Despite concerns about skating, a team with multiple picks in the early stages, such as the Seattle Kraken, could take shots at him later than before. He was listed as a B-prospect on the NHL Central Scouting 21-22 Preliminary Player to Watch list, projecting the possibility of being a second / third round candidate.
“He sees the ice very well, he has great expectations and can thread the needle with a pass. He can slow down and wait for the play to develop or allow his teammates to enter the area and then send a tape-to-tape pass. At the next level, I think his playmaking skills will translate better. ” -Dominic Tiano, OHL author
“Sapovaliv is a strong, tough forward who is aggressive and good at power play. The preparation of his stick stuck to me in such a way that he was always ready for the pass, tapped a quick while in front of the net and often showed long reach and was able to lift the opponent’s stick in an attempt to snatch their possession. . … For his skating, he doesn’t seem to have the steady speed he would need to excel to the next level. I think Sapovaliv has the potential and could go towards the end of the 2022 draft or the third round. ” – Olivia MacArter, FC Hockey
- Quick, accurate shot
- Vision and IQ
- Two way game
- Faceoff reliability
Under construction – need to improve
- Skating in transition
- Explosives and agility
- The speed of decision making
Depending on his development and how well he improves his skating, he could find a home in the mid-six of the NHL team. In a play-off team, he will build for a strong No. 3 center that can play in all situations and face big moments. In a non-play-off team, he can get even more chances to play in their top-six. An NHL comparison would be Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Stall.
Stall has played in all situations and has been a reliable face man throughout his career. He has scored more than 350 assists and more than 600 points in over 1,000 games and has won more than half the faceoffs in his career so far. The 33-year-old is still going.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy hockey prospects
Crime – 7/10, Defense – 6/10
Awards / Achievements
Sapovalev was drafted 15th overall in the 2021 CHL import draft and was selected to play in the 2022 CHL / NHL Top Probability Game.
Interview / profile link
A podcast interview with Adam Kimmelman and Mike G. Morrell from NHL Studios.
Matyas Sapovaliv statistics
Shawn Ragio is also alive for hockey. He will cover the Seattle Kraken and co-host “What’s Kraken” for THW. While studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and an active member of the student media organization, Shawn gained experience writing for television, print and radio. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us Twitter! A link can be found below his articles, such as this.