Related: Sebastian Cossa
Michael Hrabal is an imposing 6 foot 6 goaltenders, who checks off all the boxes for what scouts look for in a goaltender prospect. Listed at 6-6, he anticipates play well and is capable of shutting down shooters in tight with effective body and glove positioning. He has a hybrid style of a goaltender, who uses his large frame to his advantage, the strength of his legs makes it tough for shooters to stuff pucks by him. Hrabel established himself as a top goaltending prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft in his D-1 season at the Czech U20 level, posting a 2.14 GAA and .936 SV% in 24 games with HC Sparta Praha U20. He also had a strong performance at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, putting up a 2.73 GAA and .917 SV% in 4 starts. It’s been a couple of years since we had a goaltender worthy of selecting in the first round, but Hrabal fits the bill for a goalie that is worth using a first-round pick on. He is arguably the biggest boom-or-bust prospect if a team chooses to use a first-round pick on him because he could turn out to be a bust or he could turn into a Ben Bishop-type goalie.
Skating Above Average
Rebound Control Good
Glove Hand Good
Hockey Sense Good
1. At 6’6″, 201, Hrabal has the size the NHL scouts look for in a modern NHL goalie, and has amazing poise for a goalie his age.
2. Displays good sense and technique in his game, moves fluidly in his crease and reads the play at a high level.
3. He anticipates play well and is capable of shutting down shooters in tight with effective body and glove positioning.
Areas For Improvement
1. Often plays deeper in his crease than typically ideal, mostly due to his size.
2. His butterfly is quite upright, allowing for very little freedom to shift into pucks.
3. The other bothersome aspect of Hrabal’s game is his tendency to overuse the RVH.
The 6-6 Czechia native has a number of highly intriguing tools (and some frustrating tendencies) that make him an exciting goalie to project. If there were a word that could best describe Michael Hrabal’s play, it would be “smooth.” It is rare for a young goalie the size of Hrabal to have footwork even equal to that of their peers, but Hrabal is an exception to that stereotype. Hrabal moves efficiently within his crease, implementing proper movement techniques and transitioning effortlessly between them. He is controlled and poised in the net, rarely caught out to position. This, in combination with good angles, typically gives him a chance to stop each and every shot. Further, he has above-average lateral speed and is confident in his ability to anticipate pre-shot movement. As a result, Hrabal is capable of using his frame to make unorthodox saves that every team needs every now and then. He is particularly effective at sealing the ice and using his glove/body positioning to suffocate chances in tight. Despite Hrabla’s talent and undeniable upside, he has a couple of tendencies that could hold him back at the next level. He tends to get beaten cleanly more often than I’d like for a larger goaltender. This is due to the fact he tends to play deeper in his crease than ideal and his butterfly is quite upright, which restricts his freedom to shift into pucks. The other bothersome aspect of Hrabal’s game is his tendency to overuse the RVH. He defaults to the RVH position for essentially all play below the goal line, even when there is no near-post threat. An NHL comparison for Michael Hrabal is Pekka Rinne minus the puck-handling ability. Pekka Rinne took a while to develop until he became a full-time NHL starter, so I would expect the same with Hrabal. Michael Hrabal is a very gifted goaltender who seems to have a significantly high upside. His size, combined with strong skating and anticipation abilities, make him a prospect worth keeping a close eye on for the upcoming draft.
Skill: A big-bodied goaltender who moves fluidly in his crease and reads the play at a high level.
Style Comparison: Pekka Rinne
NHL Potential: Starting Goalie
|2021-22||HC Sparta Praha U17||Czechia U17||10||2.60||.929|
|HC Sparta Praha U20||Czechia U20||24||2.14||.936|
|2022-23||Czechia U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||4||2.73||.917|