In a recent Mock Draft, the St. Louis Blues are predicted to draft a defenseman as their first-round pick

Although mock drafts are merely predictions made by hockey experts, they serve as a gauge of talent and are often accurate in assessing first-round draft prospects. In a recent mock draft, the St. Louis Blues were linked to a promising defenseman.
Czech Republic v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship
Czech Republic v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

“Despite his season being cut short by injury, Adam Jiricek has many qualities that could make him a promising NHL defenseman. Though not flashy, his skillset projects him as a reliable top-four defenseman for an NHL team,” reported Sports Grid.

Despite injuries, Adam Jiricek, standing at 6’3” and weighing 178lbs, has untapped potential.

Given his age at 17 years old, he’s the type of player several GMs are willing to bet on in the mid to late first round of the NHL Draft.

His play has been pretty limited. He primarily played in the Czech Extraliga, the top ice hockey league in the Czech Republic, during 2022-23.

Injuries marred most of his 2024 season, resulting in sporadic performances in the World Junior Championship.

In the 2023-24 season, he played 19 games for Plzen HC and earned just 1 point.

Adam Jiricek's potential sets him apart

According to his 2024 draft profile from Dobber Prospects:

“Jiricek is a toolsy and violent defenceman who will need to work on his composure and decision-making pace to reach his lofty potential.”

He’s a defenseman who needs conditioning and developmental training. His aggression makes him an ideal fit for the St. Louis Blues, lacking such a player on defense.

But the question remains: Can he condition himself and stay healthy enough to earn a spot on an NHL roster in the years to come?

Being evaluated as a first-round pick, the expectations are there to end up in the NHL and make a difference.

Jiricek's junior years and aggressive style of play are attracting analysts, qualities that NHL teams would gladly embrace. The physicality is crucial, but the other factors can be learned if he remains healthy.

He's a risky pick for any general manager in the mid-first round, but he has the potential to be a great steal.