Eduard Salé is one of the best offensive zone players available in the 2023 NHL Draft
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
3 months ago
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The 2023 NHL Draft is fast approaching and it’s time to look at some guys who could be available to the Calgary Flames with the 16th overall pick.
This time we are talking about the super skilled Eduard Salé.
Salé is a 6’ 2” winger playing on the right side in the Czechia men’s league. He has a strong powerful stride coming off the wing and likes to charge the net on the rush.
He has an above average shot release and the ability to get the puck on net – with power – even if off balance. His head is always up entering the offensive zone surveying his best way to attack the crease. When set up, he has a knack to find open space to get off great one-timers or make smooth passes. His offensive zone sense is one of the best in a stacked draft.
The other aspect – and my personal favourite – is his puck handling ability. He’s been known to make some fantastic dangles. He can make space for himself with his hands, his feet, or his size. Skill, skill, and more skill are always on display when his confidence is shining.
Consistency was an issue with him this past season as he adjusted to playing in a league against men. He didn’t have the offensive results that people were hoping for, but he still has all the tools. For more on that here’s what Chris Peters said about him in his June 1 FloHockey rankings update:
An up-and-down season has significantly dropped Sale’s draft stock. Despite that, the tools he has give him a chance to remain a top-20 pick. It’s just unlikely he goes anywhere near the top 10 at this point. Still, he has good vision and spots plays well. He can make plays under duress and seems to often find the right option with a pass. As he continues to fill out his frame and improves his play beneath the faceoff dots, he’ll be an even bigger offensive threat. The skill and vision are traits that can translate even if other parts of his game have a bit further to go.
Salé tallied 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points in 43 games while playing with HC Kometa Brno in the Czechia league.
They don’t appear to be crazy totals, but the year prior he put up 42 goals and 47 assists for 89 points in just 39 games in the U20 league. His competition at the top of the scoring race were all two years older than him at that time – a truly standout amazing season.
It’s tough adjusting to higher hockey sometimes – there’s certainly less space to start. The more you play the more space you learn to find. I believe Salé is more than capable of improving decently on his offensive totals in the upcoming season – he certainly has the talent.
Availability and fit
In a draft this deep you don’t worry about fit – you take the player with the highest perceived potential that is going to help you get goals. Even if you find yourself with a logjam on the depth chart you have an extremely valuable asset that you can trade for futures (or an immediate need at the time) at a later date. Taking a two-way centre, or a defensive D-man can wait – take the guy with the best skill and the highest potential ceiling that’s still there.
If the Flames pick at 16 and Eduard Salé is on the board, it’s hard pressed to see how anyone with more skill would be left to take. It would be a tremendous addition to the organization.
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