Few players possess the NHL size and two-way skill that Dalibor Dvorsky possesses. The Slovak forward is the next in what is a growing line of high-end Slovak talent. Unlike many prospects coming out of the Central European country, Dvorsky has spent the last few years playing in Sweden, bouncing between the multiple leagues in the country. There is not a lot that Dvorsky can’t do, and he will likely be the top prospect in whatever system he joins after this summer. Let’s dive into why.
2023 NHL Draft Update: Dalibor Dvorsky was selected 10th overall by the St. Louis Blues.
Who is Dalibor Dvorsky?
|Dalibor Dvorsky||C||Left||6’1″||201 lbs|
Dalibor Dvorsky’s on ice production
|2019–20||D-3||U16 Div.1||Linkoping HC U16 2||2||4||2||6|
|U16 Region||Linkoping HC U16||22||10||12||22|
|Slovakia U18 2||HKM Zvolen U18||8||11||8||19|
|2020–21||D-2||J18 Region||AIK J18||6||4||10||14|
|Slovakia||HC Banska Bystrica||20||2||2||4|
|2021–22||D-1||J18 Nationell||AIK J18||0||0||0||0|
|J20 Nationell||AIK J20||33||20||20||40|
|2022–23||D+0||J20 Nationell||AIK J20||10||10||11||21|
Dvorsky moved over to Sweden in 2019–20 as a 14-year-old, and put up a point-per-game in Sweden’s U16 league. He then went back to Slovakia for most of the pandemic-shortened 2020–21 season, and played in the country’s top men’s league as a 15-year-old.
For the last two years, Dvorsky has bounced across Sweden’s top leagues, playing most of the last two years in the HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s second highest league. This is really impressive for a 16- and 17-year-old, as he faced off against much larger and older men and still was able to hold his own. While the point totals weren’t overly impressive, with 14 points in 38 games last season, just getting into games in the league at his age is an enormous accomplishment.
Dvorsky did play limited minutes in his time with AIK’s men’s team, which definitely impacted his production. The forward was almost exclusively the 13th forward in AIK’s playoff run this season, but when they did send him down to the J20, it was clear he was too good for that league. Bouncing between teams definitely took a toll on him as it is obviously hard to get used to different playing styles and systems, especially when he played limited minutes in every game.
In tournament play, Dvorsky played in both the WJC-18 and WJC-20 for Slovakia and was a big contributor in both appearances. This season, he had 13 points in the WJC-18, and finished sixth in scoring in the tournament. Obviously a small sample size, but to be competing for the lead in points in a tournament while playing on middling Slovakia says a lot about this prospect’s potential.
Dalibor Dvorsky’s strengths
The one thing that keeps coming back with Dvorsky is how strong he is at both ends of the ice. The centre is a big body presence, using his 6’1″ frame to his advantage, keeping offensive players to the outsides and limiting chances against. He is not afraid to throw his weight around and get into the nitty gritty areas of the ice.
Dvorsky is a powerful player. He uses his size and strength and both ends of the ice, able to get himself into positions to score and evade defenders. Unlike many young prospects, Dvorsky is comfortable backchecking, and is rarely the last man back on defence.
Shooting and passing
Offensively, he has a very dynamic shot. Both his wrist shot and slap shot project well to the NHL level, and both are generally accurate. He can hit the net from distance as well and is able to beat goalies clean with a hard, accurate shot.
While Dvorsky only put up 14 points this season, he led all U-18 skaters in the HockeyAllsvenskan by a wide margin in points. The next closest player had three.
He is not just a shooter though. Dvorsky is able to skate in tight, and use his hands to get to dangerous areas of the ice. His vision is very good, able to spot teammates across the ice, and allows him to be a multi-threat in the offensive zone.
Dalibor Dvorsky’s areas of improvement
Driving the play
The biggest issue with Dvorsky is his passivity. The forward is really good at making plays and finding openings, but he often does so as a passenger on his line instead of as a driver. He is not the player to pull the puck up the ice, which may be a product of confidence playing with older players than actual skill. Many scouts have commented on this being one of the biggest areas of improvement in his game.
However, I think this is solvable as he grows and develops. Not only does he have the skillset to be successful as a play-driver, he is also on the younger end of the draft this year, and has lots of runway to develop this. Spending more time on one team should help, and he is expected to play most of next season with AIK in the HockeyAllsvenskan.
The other side of driving play is developing more speed and skill in his skating. Dvorsky has a lot of potential, but will need to work on getting faster on his feet and using his edges more effectively. There is so much to like about this player right now that if he can continue to refine this part of his game, watch out!
Dalibor Dvorsky’s comparables
Bo Horvat is probably the closest comparable to Dvorsky. The prospect projects to be a top-six centre in the NHL. He brings a ton of offensive upside without sacrificing the two-way play that makes his such a difference-maker in the league. For Flames fans, think of a more offensive Mikael Backlund with slightly lower two-way skill at his point.
Fit with the Flames
Dvorsky would be a dream for the Calgary Flames to land in the draft, and he is exactly the type of player this organization loves to take. A strong two-way centre with great vision and read for the game who could slot in easily to the top-six and someone who played his hockey in Sweden.
I’m not sure he drops to the Flames if they remain at 16th, but if they move up in the lottery a few picks or if he does drop to them, he seems like someone that they would seriously entertain. Dvorsky feels like the heir-apparent to Mikael Backlund on the team’s second line. The type of player who could put up 50 to 70 points per season and match-up well against any forward line in the league. With Backlund now 33 years old, the Flames will be looking for a replacement of his skillset, and Dvorsky could be that guy.
Dvorsky is a high-upside centre, who has always played above his age group. Not only is he a large-bodied European skater, his strong two-way game and ability to find the back of the net should land him as one of the top draft picks this season. If he does fall to the Flames in the first round, he would be an absolute treat to take.
Projection: Top-six two-way forward
All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles
Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:
Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore | Will Smith | Ryan Leonard | Eduard Sale | Colby Barlow | Axel Sandin Pellikka | Dalibor Dvorsky | Brayden Yager | David Reinbacher | Nate Danielson | Riley Heidt | Matthew Wood | Quentin Musty | Mikhail Gulyayev | Calum Ritchie | Gabe Perrault | Jayden Perron | Ethan Gauthier | Dmitri Simashev | Samuel Honzek | Lukas Dragicevic | William Whitelaw | Otto Stenberg | Gavin Brindley | Daniil But