Dominant David Jiricek.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft showed out on the international stage, helping Czechia pull off a huge upset win over team Canada.
Sprinkle that Boxing Day Magic! @narodnitym take home a big 5-2 win over @hockeycanada on opening day of the 2023 #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/ODKitaJK8x— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 27, 2022
Jiricek posted an assist and two shots on goal in 16:46 which was divided into 26 shifts of an average of 38 seconds.
He's already shown that he has the potential to be a special player in the NHL not too far down the road in previous World Juniors and at the AHL level this season where he's posted 5-15--20 in 19 games.
Let's take a look at this clip from late in the third period. Jiricek starts from behind his own net and effortlessly skates up the ice and past defenders while continuing to show poise and look for an open teammate.
David Jiricek, averaging a point-per-game in the AHL, has been an absolute beast in this World Juniors game versus Canada, looking every bit the part of a franchise dman— Dan Silver (@dsilver88) December 27, 2022
Here he is going end-to-end, gobbles up ice for a big man
Think passing on him will haunt #Flyers pic.twitter.com/WVY1TwYsfH
Now let's look at this clip, where he drives the play on the power play, dumping and chasing himself, and firing a backhand assist from the corner.
Look at #CBJ prospect David Jiricek driving the play here, leading to a goal for Czechia pic.twitter.com/5oXMv3mQGS— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) December 27, 2022
Jiricek was fantastic against the best compilation of talent in this tournament, and it really shouldn't be a surprise. However, it should be reassuring to Blue Jackets fans that a player drafted sixth overall is dominating at both the AHL and World Junior levels. I don't know if he'll be back at the NHL level this season after a brief two-game stint with the Jackets earlier this season. If he plays out the rest of the year in Cleveland, that's totally fine. It should set him up to compete for a roster spot in training camp 2023.
This season has not been kind to Jackets fans, but hopefully, they can find some positives in knowing that Jiricek looks like a future NHL star.