Matej Beran: 2012 Draft Prospect Profile

It's very common for young European players to come over to North America to play junior hockey in the CHL (or the USHL in one case). In this year's draft, there's quite a few of them, and several of them could be first round picks, like Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Olli Maata, Zemgus Girgensons, Radek Faksa and Martin Frk. Today's draft profile will talk about one of the lesser kno

wn draft eligible players who have come from Europe to ply their trade. Matej Beran is one of those players. While he hasn't done much to impress scouts (final Central scouting rank of 94), his low ranking could mean that the Devils could pick him up with their 3rd or 4th round pick. More thoughts on Beran after the jump.

Who is Matej Beran

Matej Beran

GP

G

A

PIM

Lulea U-18

41

12

8

114

PEI Rocket

68

22

39

68

Matej Beran was born in Plzen, CZE (Petr Sykora's hometown) and spent an early portion of his junior career playing in the Czech U-18 league with Plzen and then Karlovy Vary. He then found himself in the Swedish Junior system, playing for Lulea, where he was the most penalized player in the Swedish U-18 league. The Prince Edward Island Rocket then selected him in the CHL import draft with the 35th overall pick. Due to the CHL/AHL agreement, he's likely going to remain with the Rocket next season..

What Experts Have Said About Matej Beran

Jason MacIssac of Future Considerations

Matej Beran seems to finally slowed his pace. This lumbering skater has surprised nearly the whole hockey world with his offense from 10 feet and in. Beran’s skating hasn’t improved and he isn’t putting up the points either. In the last 11 games he has just two goals and two assists on the woeful PEI Rocket. This doesn’t change my opinion on him all that much, he is a mid-to-late round project regardless.

The Scouting Report's description

Beran has a huge frame and has shown some good offensive ability this season, but skating is a pretty major concern at this point. Beran labours with his stride and is an average skater at the junior level which does not project well moving forward if he doesn’t show improvement. Aside from skating concerns, Beran does use his size fairly well in his offensive game as he protects the puck well and can be difficult to check. Beran would also benefit from being more physical as for a player of his size, he is not an overly physical player. There are some enticing tools to work with, but Beran is a project at this point.

Jonathan Dunphy of The Q Spot (Also- a PEI Rocket Fan) via email

Matej Beran is a very "average" player. He's got a lot of tools, but he hasn't quite figured out how to use them. He was one of the P.E.I. Rocket's best players this year, but they had a very bad team. This did allow him to play on the first line and play some valuable minutes. He has a nose for the net. His style of play reminds me of Milan Lucic (though he is nowhere close to where Lucic was at 18 years of age). He's tough, he hits, will fight if necessary (he led the SuperElit league in PIM's before coming to the CHL). His skating is where he lacks the most (as with most young players). One thing of note, he's naturally a center, but was used on the wing almost the whole year, so he's able to adapt & play relatively well (à la Kovalchuk). He's most likely a 4th or 5th rounder, with a potential to make the NHL in 5 years.

My analysis probably differs from most, as I only watched him after Christmas, and only in his home rink. People that watched him progressively through the whole season are likely to have some differences of opinion.

Video Highlights

Beran Scores two goals against Acadie-Bathurst


Beran Scores a nice goal against Chicoutimi


An Opinion of Sorts

Like a lot of the expert opinion of him suggests, Matej Beran is a project. He's got size and he's got talent, but he hasn't put it all together. 61 points in 68 games is a good sign, but considering that a lot of scouts (who have seen Beran play more than myself) have been highly critical about his skating I'm not too sure if I want him. If the Devils do draft him, I hope they draft him in the 4th or 5th round. He might be a bit of a project, but even if his skating is below average he can at least be an average 4th liner with a big body. If he does work on his skating but brings an average offensive game, he could play a role similar to someone like Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson or Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Your Thoughts

With all that being said, do you think the Devils should consider using a 4th or 5th round pick to draft Beran? Do you think his potential upside outweighs all his skating problems? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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