Diamond In The Rough: Dominik Kubalik

Image by Dinur Blum (@rabbi_d) via Flickr

The Chicago Blackhawks in recent years have been great at finding talent in Europe. Some of their most notable signings include: Artemi Panarin, Erik Gustafsson and Dominik Kahun among others. Dominik Kubalik, seems to be that next talent.

Kubalik, was born in the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. He started rising up the ranks of Czech hockey, and in 2012 he was selected 27th overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Sudbury Wolves.

In his first season with Sudbury he put up 17 goals and 34 points in 67 games. His performances in both the World Juniors tournament and with Sudbury led to him being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings. He was drafted in the seventh round, 191st overall.

The next season, Kubalik, struggled. He only scored 18 goals and 11 assists in 59 games. The next season he went back to the Czech Republic. His decision was definitely for the best.

Back in Europe

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Kubalik, went back to his hometown club of HC Plzen. He spent time between the under 20 club and the main club. He seemed to be back on track after that first year.

In 2015/2016, Kubalik’s offense exploded. He scored 25 goals and added another 15 assists in 48 games with HC Plzen. The next year was more of the same. 29 goals and 19 assists in 51 games.

Kubalik, took a chance in 2017/2018. He moved to Switzerland to play in an arguably harder league. His offense didn’t falter at all. He scored 10 goals while also recording 17 assists in 25 games. Kubalik was loaned back to HC Plzen for a portion of the season where he scored a whopping 16 goals and 24 points in 20 games.

Last season, Kubalik scored 25 goals and had 57 points in 50 games. He was voted the leagues most valuable player and he also had the most points in the league.

At the World Championships, Kubalik was excellent. He recorded six goals and 12 points in 10 games. To put that in perspective, he recorded the same or more amount of points as: Patrick Kane, Elias Pettersson and Leon Draisaitl.

Dominik Kubalik coming back to North America

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On January 24th, 2019, the Blackhawks sent a 2019 fifth round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for the rights of Dominik Kubalik. Then on May 29th, the Blackhawks signed Kubalik.

So far this season, Kubalik has been a very pleasant surprise. The 24 year old has scored three goals and added three helpers in 14 games this season.

There have been concerns about his consistency and defense, but he’s fared well in both of those areas. According to Natural Stat Trick, Kubalik is third among Blackhawk forwards with a 49.19 CF%, first with a 53.94 FF% and second with a 51.64 xGF%.

Kubalik, looks to have a very bright future. I’d expect him to be part of future core. Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist are the two big prospects. But there are also other guys like Kubalik, Ian Mitchell, Philipp Kurashev and Nicolas Beaudin.

Those possession numbers are great. I’d expect him to continue to get better throughout the season. His biggest strengths are his shot, speed and playmaking ability. Those skills should only improve.

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Advanced Analytics Glossary

CF% – Corsi for percentage. Corsi is an advanced analytic that measures shot attempts at even strength. Includes shots on goal, missed shots or blocked shots towards your opponent’s goal. CF% is found by dividing Corsi for by Corsi for plus Corsi against (CF/CF+CA). Generally, anything above 50% is good.

FF% – Fenwick for percentage. Fenwick is an advanced analytic that measures shots at even strength. Includes just shots on goal and missed shots. FF% is found by dividing Fenwick for by Fenwick for plus Fenwick against (FF/FF+FA). Generally, anything above 50% is good.

xGF% – Expected goals for percentage. Like Fenwick, it measures unblocked shots. It has different values per quality of shot or shot against. xGF% is found by dividing Expected goals for by the total Expected goals (xGF/xG). Generally, anything above 50% is good.

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