Photo credit:Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
2023 FlamesNation prospect rankings: #4 Samuel Honzek
5 months ago
The Calgary Flames had a solid 2023 NHL Draft. They came out with some skilled players with excellent physical attributes in pretty much every round, and that was spearheaded by the drafting of one Slovak forward by the name of Samuel Honzek with the 16th overall pick. The kid embodies the kind of skill and size attributes that general managers are consistently looking for, and in his first year as a Flames prospect, he comes in at number four in our rankings.
Left-handed center/left wing
Born November 12, 2004 (age 18) in Trencin, Slovakia
6’4″, 194 pounds
Selected in the first round (16th overall) by Calgary in the 2023 NHL Draft
Honzek started making his mark with the HK Dukla Trencin U16 and U18 teams in his home country of Slovakia. And after a hectic 2020-21 season where he played 19 total games for four different teams, the most of which came with HK Spartak Dubnica on loan, he found his spot. In 2021-22, Honzek played five games with the HK Dukla Trencin U20 team. He scored a total of seven points with only one goal. But that wasn’t the highest level he would play at during the season. As a 17-year-old, he played for the HK Dukla Trencin team in the Slovakia Pro League for 49 games. He scored a total of 14 points and hit the double-digit goal mark (10 goals)
Last season, Honzek came over to North America and played in the Western Hockey League for the Vancouver Giants, where he made a sizable impact as an 18-year-old. He played 43 regular season games, scored 23 goals, and tallied 33 assists for 56 points. He came second on the team in that area, and if he had played the same number of games as the team leader–Ty Thorpe–he would have been on pace to score 84 points, which would have been 16th in the entire league. He also played four games in the postseason with the Giants, and he was at a point per game then as well.
Honzek is a player who uses his size effectively on both ends of the ice, but his offense is what really separates him. At his size, one wouldn’t think he could play as smooth and skillful as he does, but he surprises those who watch even for just a game or two. He’s a player that you should certainly be keeping tabs on next season, especially as the top three prospects in the organization (and on our list) attempt to take their talents to the NHL full-time.
Friend of the site Derek Neumeier, from McKeen’s, gave us his assessment of Honzek’s game:
Honzek’s game grew by leaps and bounds last season, and the Flames are surely hoping that he can continue developing at such a rapid pace. It’s rare to find prospects who possess his blend of size, puck skill and mobility. He can make an impact in so many different ways during his shifts, and often makes it look effortless. However, a major change of scenery and some injury troubles have made it tricky as of right now to confidently say exactly how much genuine potential he has, as opposed to optimistic wish-casting. There isn’t really a lot to nitpick about Honzek’s long-term upside, he truly is a top-tier prospect overall, though it would be nice to see him play with more intensity and assert himself physically on a more consistent basis.
Expectations for 2023-24
In 2023-24, I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to expect Honzek to take a massive step forward and lead the Giants in scoring by a wide margin. Given what he did in the number of games he played relative to his teammates, and as an undrafted 18-year-old on a team with a losing record in the WHL, he has already proven that he can score plenty at this level. At this point in his career, it’s about taking things one step at a time, honing in on the weaknesses of his game, improving them, and seeing an improvement in his scoring while that is all going on. He has a big chance to take over as a leader on the Giants while also moving up the totem pole in the WHL scoring race, and that’s what I’m going to be looking out for in the 2023-24 season.
Recent articles from Jeff Middleton