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Prospects Unlimited: Blackhawks pick Teply taking steps as he adjusts to North American game

It hasn't taken long for Chicago fourth-round pick Michal Teply to find his footing with the WHL's Winnipeg Ice.
Winnipeg Ice

Winnipeg Ice

Back in 2016, the WHL’s Kootenay Ice had the first overall selection in the CHL import draft. They chose future St. Louis prospect Klim Kostin out of Russia, but he didn’t come to Kootenay. Fast-forward a few years and the Ice, now residing in Winnipeg, once again had a high pick in the import draft. While the franchise had luck luring some players over from Europe recently, they weren’t blue-chippers. But this time, they went with an NHL prospect in Czech right winger Michal Teply, taken by Chicago in the fourth round in 2019. “It’s been interesting how the import draft works,” said Ice coach James Patrick. “It took us a few years, but with the Winnipeg move, we’re in a place that more Europeans are willing to come to.”

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Teply’s first North American taste came in the fall when he joined Chicago’s rookies at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. That tourney can often be an eye-opener for Europeans, and it was no different for Teply. “It was a hard start,” he said. “I like the European style of hockey, but I got it.”

That experience put Teply on the right track, and he arrived in Winnipeg ready to go. He was a point-per-game player in the opening weeks of the season, and his coach has been suitably impressed. “He could be a sleeper,” Patrick said. “He’s got an NHL shot, a good-sized hockey body, he protects the puck well, and he’s hard to knock off the puck. He makes plays and has good hockey sense. I did wonder about the physicality and intensity of the North American game, but neither has been an issue. He’s been a top-six forward right off the bat.”

The one aspect that Teply could improve on is his skating. It’s not a hindrance, but if he took another step in that regard, it would elevate his game to another level. And speaking of another level, a spot on the Czech world junior team this year would be a memorable accomplishment for Teply, especially with the event being held in his home country. “It will be, for the Czech people and hockey fans, something unreal,” Teply said. “It will be so good, and I hope I’ll make the team.” – Ryan Kennedy

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