Name: Matej Tomek
2014-2015 Team: Topeka Road Runners(NAHL)
2014-2015 Stats: 33 games played, 1.83 goals against average, .928 save percentage
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 5th among North American goalies
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
I'll just cut and paste from a scouting report I wrote earlier this year on Tomek:
He's listed at 6-3 180 lbs(given the eyeball test, I'd say that's fairly close to accurate; he's maybe a little skinnier than that) , so he's got outstanding size for a pro goalie prospect. As far as playing style, Tomek is a straight butterfly-style goalie. You can tell from his stance in the above picture, as well as this one, he uses extra long leg pads, with the left pad crossing over the right at the top, which allows him to take away space in his five hole when he goes down into his butterfly. He stands with a strong, wide base and is very quick to get down into his butterfly, making it nearly impossible to beat him low. His body always seemed very balanced and under control, allowing him to use all his size to his advantage when he's down in his butterfly. He's very meticulous and precise in all of his movements, without looking too stiff and mechanical.
It's hard to say too much negative about a goalie that doesn't allow any goals, but if anything, he sometimes dropped his glove a little, leaving some extra open space in the upper corner of the net. He didn't need to handle the puck much, but the one time that he did, he stopped a dump-in behind his net and made a pass under minimal duress.
Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?
Tomek made a big splash at the start of the season by coming over to North America and putting up some incredible numbers in the NAHL, putting him in the second-to-third round range on most draft projections. As the season progressed, he was slowed down by injuries a bit, and his numbers stayed strong, but not as ridiculously high as they were early in the season. So instead of pushing to be one of the top eligible goalies in the Draft, Tomek finished the year in sort of the second-tier of available goalies for this year's Draft.
Where is he projected to go in the Draft?
Goalies are a little harder to predict because when a team selects a goalie, it's a bit more based on need than forward or defenseman. As far as available goalies, Ilya Samsonov and MacKenzie Blackwood seem established as the top two goalies available in the Draft, and both will likely be gone by the second round. Tomek likely slots into the second tier of available goalies with about three or four other goalies. That puts him in the range to be selected anywhere from the late-second round to the late-fourth round.
How does he project as a pro?
He's a goalie. Nobody picks a goalie hoping they can develop into a career minor leaguer or back-up.
Where will he go next?
Tomek committed to the University of North Dakota this past January, and with Zane McIntyre opting to leave school early to sign with the Boston Bruins, that opens up the crease for Tomek to take the starting role from Day One next year. It generally takes goalies longer to develop, so having the option of waiting up to four years for Tomek to mature and develop is an intriguing prospect for any NHL team, but if he continues to develop as expected, he may play in the NCAA for as little as two seasons.