2024 NHL Draft eligible
Position: D, Shoots: R
H/W: 6´2”, 168 lbs
Date of Birth: 2006-06-28
Adam Jiříček has been on the radar as a potential top 10-20 pick for several years now, however, a few events have potentially hurt his draft stock this year. The Czech defenseman was selected for the U20 National Team at the World Juniors Championship; however, it was a very short and unfortunate tournament for Jiříček. In his very first game at the WJC, Jiříček collided with Slovak forward Juraj Pekarčík, who fell on his leg, and Jiříček injured his knee. The injury has turned out to be significant as he will miss the remainder of his draft season.
Overall, it's been a rough draft year for Adam Jiříček. First, he missed a month of play just before the World Juniors after a hit to the head in a Czech Extraliga match that sidelined him with a concussion. Right after he was cleared to play, he suffered another serious injury and is now out for the season. His performance in the Czech top-tier league wasn't ideal, but it was expected he'd turn things around as it takes some time for young prospects to get adjusted to the level of play in a challenging pro league.
The question is how Jiříček's injury will influence his draft stock. Despite the setback, his previous performances and skill set had put him in the top 10 conversation before. If he is able to make a full recovery as expected and continues to develop, Jiříček might become one of the biggest steals of the 2024 NHL Draft, especially if he falls out of the 1st round.
Adam Jiříček is a well-rounded, two-way defenseman who doesn't excel at one certain skill but plays a polished game. He's not as aggressive as his older brother David but doesn't shy away from physical play and has the potential to be a solid all-around top-four defenseman at the NHL level.
Jiříček is a smooth skater with good four-way mobility and a respectable top speed. He has a lot of tools in his arsenal, allowing him to lose opponents and create opportunities through his skating. Although his style might seem awkward from time to time, skating is definitely not a weakness for the Czech defenseman.
A good maneuver at the blue line showcases Jiříček's quick footwork, effortlessly keeping the puck in the offensive zone.
Jiříček might be too good for the Czech U20 league and this clip proves it. He has no problem carrying the puck from his own zone with one hand and draws a penalty on the play. He fakes a half-turn and continues to skate away from the opponent with ease. Jiříček shows his strong skating and balance, eventually drawing a penalty.
Jiříček initiates the play by receiving the puck behind his own zone, does a nice turn to lose the opponent and accelerates into a sprint burst to contribute to the attack. He supports his teammates and doesn't lack the speed to be effective in joining the rush.
Jiříček has been criticized for an awkward stride and we can see why in this clip. I´d like to see more effort from him when rushing back, where he doesn't reach full speed. He retrieves the puck in the end, but it's due to the help of his teammates, not his impressive effort.
Unlike his brother, Adam doesn´t have a booming shot from the point. He prefers a wrister, which definitely has some limitations. Jiříček isn´t known for his scoring abilities, having scored only once in his draft season and that goal was an empty-netter at a U18 tournament. He is a smart player, yet his shooting requires some work. A positive note is the fact he had started to shoot more frequently just before his injury.
Jiříček has all the time in the world to prepare for a hard slap shot, but his attempt causes zero damage. The Canadian goalie has no problem with his shot, which lacks accuracy and power.
An unusual place to shoot from for Jiříček, who switches spots on the powerplay with a teammate and shoots from the left circle. He correctly identifies a lot of open space in the net, fakes a one-timer and releases a fairly quick wrister which hits the post. An overall decent effort from the Czech defenseman.
Jiříček sometimes opts to shoot from a very wide angle at the blue line, nearly touching the boards. While this strategy might be more effective at smaller North American rinks, it doesn´t bring the results in Europe, as seen in this clip, where his one-timer goes wide.
Prior to his injury, Jiříček started to shoot more often in the Czech top-tier league, going in line with his increased powerplay usage. He demonstrates a sniper mentality in this clip, skating to a great shooting spot on a 5-on-3 PP and attempting to score himself instead of passing the puck to the teammate at the other circle. Even though his initial effort is saved by the goalie, Jiříček wastes no time, skates to the blue line and immediately prepares for another shot.
A good powerplay goal from Jiříček, who seizes the opportunity and sends a nice wrist shot to the net that surpasses the goalie.
Adam Jiříček is a skilled two-way defenseman with polished offensive and defensive skills. He uses his stick well, carries the puck with ease and has the confidence to execute difficult plays. He´s a well-rounded player useful at both ends of the ice. However, he needs to find the right balance and avoid pressuring situations excessively.
Demonstrating confidence with the puck, Jiříček doesn´t shy away from 1-on-1 battles with opponents. In this clip, he initially finds it too difficult to get the puck past two forechecking forwards, but successfully retrieves it and starts the play using his soft hands.
This is a bit risky, yet a great skillful pass from Jiříček, who´s pressured behind his own net by a forechecking forward. He doesn´t go for the simple option to send the puck across the boards but chooses a saucer which finds his teammate's stick and initiates the attack.
Good defensive work from Jiříček, who wins the battle and stops the opponent, gets the puck, effectively loses the forechecking forward, and starts the rush.
Again, clean work in his own zone by Jiříček, who quickly gains possession of the puck, fakes a couple of moves to secure a great position but struggles to send an accurate pass to a teammate.
The angle makes it hard to see, but the clip illustrates Jiříček jumping on a play, confidently carrying the puck behind the opposing net and delivering a great pass to an open teammate. A well-deserved primary assist for Jiříček.
Jiříček loves to play aggressively, takes risks, and doesn´t hesitate to jump on a play when he feels the opportunity. He has a decent positional awareness, knows how to prevent the opponent from scoring and creates a lot of plays for his teammates. He is not immune to making mistakes, especially when playing against much older and stronger opponents. Nevertheless, he´s a smart player and a reliable defenseman.
In this clip, Jiříček effectively defends a 3-on-2 breakaway. He faces his opponent who's holding the puck and places his stick down to the ice to neutralize a potential pass to an open winger. When this option gets neutralized, Jiříček quickly steps up to the Canadian player who´s preparing for a shot and blocks it with his stick. Jiříček returns to his spot after the attempt, but there's a bit of a miscommunication between him and his defensive partner and Jiříček throws the puck out of the zone under pressure.
Jiříček is a skilled playmaker who excels at finding teammates in the offensive zone. In this clip, he does everything to fool the opponents to hide the intention of passing to a teammate at the left circle. Jiříček patiently waits for the right opportunity and sends the puck through the offensive zone when the Czech forward is finally open. It´s a good and unexpected pass, nevertheless, it doesn´t result in a goal.
However, there are instances when Jiříček´s positional awareness is challenged. In this clip, he initially covers his side well, but as the Czechs lose possession and the Slovak defenseman wants to send a breakaway pass to his teammate at the centre, Jiříček fails to realize the open space and doesn´t cover the man. He stands too close to the boards and realizes his mistake. When he tries to break up the pass with his stick, but doesn´t succeed. The Slovak forward is allowed to have a clear opportunity to score but doesn´t capitalize.
Jiříček positioning here at the beginning of this clip from one of his first Extraliga games is not great. He stands in his teammate´s way and rushes to the neutral zone too quickly. The whole play results in a turnover and a decent scoring opportunity for České Budějovice, however, it's Jiříček who uses his stick to disrupt the pass and leaves a positive impression after all.
In this clip, Jiříček is too aggressive and tries to disrupt a cross-ice pass, but fails and leaves his spot. This leaves an open path for the opponent to score.
He´s not an overly physical player and doesn´t throw a lot of hits, but the potential is very high. The grade might seem too generous for now, but I truly believe in Jiříček´s path to becoming an effective physical monster. He´s 6-foot2, chooses his battles well and has started to realize how to use his body ideally and how to adjust to stronger, more experienced and physical opponents. There might be a lot of work, but once he´s ready, he might be very well-known for being physical.
Jiříček starts the clip by preventing the opponent from getting the puck with a solid check, however, a stricter referee could have called a penalty for interference on that play since his opponent never touches the puck. Jiříček takes the puck behind his own net, but fails to pass it at the right time and gets tied up with the opponent. He gets double-teamed and gets overpowered too easily. However, he finishes the shift with a strong stick play and takes the puck back. A shift full of ups and downs for Jiříček in his own zone.
Good physical play from Jiříček, who realizes playing the body and pushing the smaller opponent away is the easiest way to get the puck and does it perfectly.
On the other hand, this is not a great play by Jiříček who gets stripped of the puck very easily and loses it to a smaller opponent who barely bodychecks him. Lack of composure on the part of the Czech defenseman.
The adjustment to the Czech top-tier league wasn´t easy for Jiříček, especially the physical side of the game in a challenging professional league. He has been getting caught with booming hits, just like in this clip.
Jiříček is strong in front of his own net and can hold his own in battles with opponent forwards. In this clip, he covers his man well and battles him out while fighting for the puck. Jiříček prevents any deflection and sorts out the situation well.
Another example of how strong Jiříček can be, he neutralizes the opponent and throws him down to the ice with ease.
A note on the 20-80 scale used above. We look at five attributes (skating, shooting, puck skills, hockey IQ and physicality) for skaters and six for goalies (athleticism/quickness, compete/temperament, vision/play reading, technique/style, rebound control and puck handling). Each individual attribute is graded along the 20-80 scales, which includes half-grades. The idea is that a projection of 50 in a given attribute meant that our observer believed that the player could get to roughly NHL average at that attribute at maturity.