The Vegas Golden Knights used their third and fourth picks of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to draft centers Jakub Brabenec and Jakub Demek in the fourth round with picks No. 102 and 128, respectively.
Jakub Brabenec, C
Originally slated to draft 114th, the Knights executed their second trade of the day, though this time the trade allowed them to move up in the draft. Specifically, Vegas moved picks No. 114 and 155 to Detroit in order to climb 12 spots in the fourth round to pick No. 102, which they used to draft Brabenec, a center from the Czech Republic.
Brabenec is one of three centers Vegas has taken with its first four picks in this year’s draft, as he and Demek join first-round selection Zach Dean.
After uncertainty surrounding the QMJHL season due to COVID-19, Brabenec spent last season playing in the Czech Extraliga — the highest Czech league — against men; he managed just one assist in 23 games, but it was valuable experience for the 17-year-old.
However, he had a standout performance and produced four assists in five games on a disappointing Czech team in the under-18 world championship.
Brabenec was ranked 21st among European skaters by Central Scouting.
The 6-foot-1, 174-pound center is an excellent skater who never stops moving his feet, and he has a powerful first stride. He’s patient and responsible with the puck and is a creative playmaker with strong vision. He has a powerful shot but is said to occasionally suffer from tunnel vision given his pass-first mentality.
He has experience playing both the point and the half wall on the power play, but his offensive upside is limited, or at least questionable, at this point in his development. He projects to be more of a bottom-six player.
Brabenec is competitive and plays hard in all three zones, and he has some elusiveness in his game.
The highest-ranked Czech forward by NHL Central Scouting is Jakub Brabenec, one of the youngest players in the #2021NHLDraft.— Czech Prospects (@CZprospects) July 17, 2021
A skilled forward with good hands and hockey sense, led U18 national team in pts last season.
Here are some of his best moments from the 2020-21 season. pic.twitter.com/WvVKLpSVhR
He helps the Knights pad their center depth, and he has plenty of time to develop considering he won’t turn 18 until September, making him one of the youngest players in the draft.
Jakub Demek, C
The Knights used their next pick (No. 128) to take another center named Jakub.
Demek was ranked 129th on Central Scouting’s list of European skaters, making him an off-the-board choice for Vegas at 128.
The native of Kosice, Slovakia has played his entire career in Slovakia, including 10 games last season with HC Kosice of the Tipos Extraliga, the highest league in Slovakia. He tallied two assists in those 10 games but managed 13 points in 25 games with Slovakia’s under-18 team.
The 6-foot-4, 196-pound center will play next season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.