Nashville Predators potential 2024 Draft Pick Profiles: Adam Jiricek

Could the younger Jiricek be even better, and the answer to the Predators defensive future?
Czech Republic v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship PLEASE CHANGE THE PICTURE IT IS DAVID NOT ADAM BUT VOLTAX WON'T LET ME UPLOAD PICTURES
Czech Republic v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship PLEASE CHANGE THE PICTURE IT IS DAVID NOT ADAM BUT VOLTAX WON'T LET ME UPLOAD PICTURES / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

With each passing day, it looks more and more likely that the Nashville Predators will be making a first-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft. As they look to improve on their playoff appearance, they also are doing their best to keep the cupboard stocked with prospects and players ready to step up to the main roster.

There is a chance that the player is going to be Adam Jirieck, a young defenseman playing in the professional league in Czechia, who is the younger brother of David Jirieck, a first. round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets from the 2022 draft.

Jirieck has fallen on draft boards due to injury problems

Both of the Jiricek brothers played for Pizen HC, a team in the top professional league in the country. Unfortunately, Adam Jiricek was limited to just 19 games and only wrangled one assist on the season. He played 12 games for the professional club last season as well but played more often on the U20 team in the 2022-23 season. He played 41 games scoring 12 goals and adding 17 assists for 29 points.

Jirieck also had a very impressive showing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, one of the top tournaments for under-18 players. He starred for Czechia in 50 games across different age groups since he was 16.

His season however has been frought with injuries so we haven't seen the best of Jirieck since likely the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. That has pushed a player who was once thought to be a consensus top-10 down the draft board. He's now 24th on Craig Button's draft board, and 22nd on the Athletic rankings.

Two knee injuries cut Jirieck's season and his World Juniors run short. He should have been a leading member of the Czechia team that won a bronze medal, but a reaggravated knee injury put the kibosh on those dreams.

Why Jirieck would be a solid pick for the Predators

Still, Jirieck is clearly talented and is part of the ever-popular NHL genetics pool. We aren't sure if he's got the offensive presence of his older brother, but we do know that he is aggressive on the defensive end, seeking out hits and looking to make a physical impact. He's also very offensively adept but still needs time to develop his game at the higher levels.

The likelihood is that Jirieck is going to have a longer development cycle. It is traditional thought that gives defensemen a longer rope, but with his injuries preventing him from a big development year, whatever team takes Jirieck will want to let him bake in the hockey oven just a bit longer. His brother is already splitting time between the NHL and AHL, and it is almost certain that the younger Jirieck won't be following suit as soon.

The best look we have at him is from the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In this 5 minute segment of his highlights (he's also wearing #5) you see how involved he is when he's on par with the skill level. He's engaged offensively and physically. His game is calm and decisive.

The hope is with a full recovery from injury he'll play a similar style game at the pro level, and if he does then he'll sit well into any NHL team's top four defensemen. He could be a steal for the Predators if he is still around by the 22nd pick.

Defense will be a need on this team for years to come. There are two gaps that need to be filled right now, as well as Dante Fabbro being scheudled to become a UFA in 2025. Then you realize that both Luke Schenn and Roman Josi are 34, and it fear should start setting in. The next #1 Predators defenseman needs to come from this draft or the next.