Leading up to the Blackhawks’ 2018 development camp, The Rink will profile the Hawks’ top 10 unsigned prospects.
Next on the list at 9th is defenseman Jakub Galvas of Olomouc in the Czech Republic.
2017–18 Team: Olomouc (Czech Republic)
Date of Birth: June 15, 1999
Place of Birth: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Weight: 168 lbs
Acquired: 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 5th round, 150th overall
Jakub Galvas is a smooth-skating defensemen from the Czech Republic. The Blackhawks grabbed him in the 5th round in 2017, which was good value given he likely would have gone higher if he had a bigger frame, as he was ranked as the 26th-best European Skater by Central Scouting.
Galvas is best described as a smart, puck-moving defenseman. He excels in many areas of the game. Though a puck-mover, he is not overly productive offensively, as he registered just two goals and 11 assists this season.
Galvas has been a mainstay for the Czech Republic at international tournaments over the years, typically playing a large role for his team. He performed well at the 2018 World Junior Championships, tallying two assists in seven games. Perhaps the highlight of his on-ice career thus far has been his overtime game-winning goal in the Ivan Hlinka semifinals to send the Czech Republic to the gold medal game, where they would defeat the United States. Galvas assisted on the game-winning goal in the gold medal game.
During the 2016–17 season, Galvas became the first player to ever suit up against his father in a Czech Extraliga game. His father, Lukas, has spent over two decades playing in the Extraliga. The two were teammates this season, as Lukas joined Jakub on Olomouc.
Implications for the Blackhawks
Galvas gives the Blackhawks an intriguing project on the left side of the blueline. He has the ability to become a serviceable NHL defenseman, though would need to beat out the glut of other left-handed defensemen in the Hawks’ system for regular playing time.
Galvas still needs to put on a lot of muscle before being considered a legitimate option at the NHL level in the future. Galvas will likely spend at least one or two more years in the Czech Republic before coming over to North America, where he would need at least a couple of years in the minors before making the jump to the NHL. If he joins the Blackhawks’ roster in the future, it likely would not be before 2021–22 or 2022–23 at the earliest.
Galvas is likely a hit-or-miss prospect. He has the upside of being a top-four defenseman but could also be kept from reaching that potential because of his lack of size. He does not necessarily stand out, but that really is not a big problem since he is effective, the most important trait for developing defensemen.
What others are saying
“Galvas does everything well on the ice but will need to pack on some weight to his undersized frame. Despite his lack of size, he does not shy away from the physical side of the game. … Don’t expect big offensive numbers but Galvas has the talent to be a top-four defender in the NHL.”
— Tony Carr/Dobber Prospects
“Jakub Galvas is very smart, fleet-footed two-way defenseman, who distinguishes with high productivity and dependable defending. He was also one of the best defenders in 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial cup, where he got 4 points. Elegant skater with lots of energy to burn. Not afraid to lay the body, or take a hit to make the play; can and will stand up for teammates. A decent powerplay guy too.”
— Joel Bergmann/DraftSite