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HW Top 25 Under 25: #21 Pavel Jenys

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Pavel Jenys may get a chance to show fans in Iowa his talents as soon as this season.

The Wild drafted Pavel Jenys in 2014, but he did not make last year’s list of the Top 25 Under 25 because he was such an unknown quantity. Since the Czech native spent his prior seasons in Europe, we hadn't had much chance to see him play in North America. But last season, he played in the OHL for the Sudbury Wolves, the worst team in Canadian junior. The team’s lack of success was no fault of Jenys’s as he led the team in points with 45, and tied for the lead in assists with 30 (in five fewer games than the player with whom he tied). While his production was slightly less than the other two forwards selected in the late rounds of 2014 (Chase Lang of the Calgary Hitmen and Reid Duke of the Brandon Wheat Kings), he could possibly have an even larger impact on the Wild’s farm system than Lang or Duke.

Going into his draft year, the biggest complaint naysayers had regarding Jenys was that he put forth an inconsistent effort. Mike Repertorio for Pro Puck Prospects mentioned that scouts are most critical of the effort of Jenys:

"He does need to improve his defensive zone play, but plays to win and will give up his body to block shots. Overall though, scouts want to see this character forward provide a more consistent effort level."

On some nights, he looked like a superstar, but on many others, he looked disinterested or lost. That behavior continued with Sudbury in his first North America season, but considering how dreadful the Wolves were, I can't blame his disinterest. In addition to his effort level, Jenys is also criticized for his defensive abilities, a criticism that is common of many young players. He did have a -36 last season with Sudbury, but the team worst was -59, illustrating just how many goals the Wolves gave up, regardless of whether or not Jenys was on the ice.

Jenys finds himself in Hockey Wilderness's top 25 players under 25 because on occasion he does look like a superstar. His athleticism and physical presence will serve him well as he transitions to professional hockey, probably this season in Iowa. With a 6'2" frame, he's got enough height to compete in a physical league. Dobber Prospects posted the remarks of scout Edric Joseph:

"A good prospect to take the wait and see approach with given his shot and ability to dictate the play when forced to play in the corners or on the boards. The Wild ought to be pleased with the heart and vigor that he shows in his play. Jenys’ mildly abrasive, intimidating presence it will keep the opposition on their toes. Whether or not he can handle taking this style of play to the professional level remains to be seen."

After the conclusion of the Sudbury Wolves’s season, Jenys played with the Iowa Wild and he looked good. Because of his size and skating, he was able to fit in immediately on a roster that struggled mightily for most of the regular season, a roster that improved towards the end of the season as the Wild added eliminated players from the CHL and from various NCAA programs. Jenys tallied 3 assists in 8 games, mostly playing on a line with Jared Knight and Brett Sutter. That trio made up a physical, hard to play against line, that was fun to watch late in Iowa’s season.

Jenys has a skillset that can boost Iowa’s offensive production

While it would perhaps be better for Jenys’s development to play for a decent OHL team than to play for the struggling Iowa Wild, Iowa is in a situation where they need more players who can contribute, and Jenys has a skillset that can boost Iowa’s offensive production, an area that desperately needs to improve this year. Additionally, it would do Jenys little good to spend another season playing for Sudbury, a team which is likely to improve simply because they could not be any worse, and even though they will almost certainly be better, it would still stall Jenys's development to play to for a team that still projects to finish at or near the bottom of the OHL.

Here Jenys makes a good play that results in a goal during his brief tryout with the Iowa Wild towards the end of last year. It's a simple play, but it shows his aggressive, offense first mentality. He also looks big and has a presence on the ice, and follows up a good shot by Jared Knight by going to the net to chase a possible rebound.

In this play with Sudbury, he makes offense by  himself by making himself space and zooming around the zone. This is a dominant, unassisted effort, which is contrary to his normal playmaking style. It still looks good though.

It sounds like Jenys will get the opportunity to contribute to the Iowa Wild for the 2015-16 season. In Iowa, I expect Coach Torchetti to find out whether or not Jenys is capable of giving consistent effort and playing defense because if he’s not able to do those two things, Torchetti will not play him. Watching the compete level Jenys had during his brief stint in Iowa last year, I would not be surprised if the Czech forward has a stellar year, even if it does take some time for him to adjust to the AHL. As one of the last players cut from last years' Czech WJC team, I would expect him to make that team this year, and the Wild should let him go, even if he is contributing in Iowa. This season could help Jenys a lot, and it should clarify whether or not Jenys has the chops to make it to the NHL because he has the size and the talent. Now he just needs to show that he has the willpower.