The 2020 version of the list starts with a hulking European forward.
#25 Radim Zohorna, LW, RW
2019 Ranking: n/a
Age: 24 (April 29, 1996)
Acquired Via: undrafted free agent signing, April 2020
Height/Weight: 6’6, 234 pounds
Scouting report via Dobber Hockey:
A versatile forward who can play both wing and center. He has a big frame and uses it to his advantage. While he needs to improve his skating, he plays a very smart offensive game.
Highlight: a nice play where he kicks the puck ahead, goes to the net and scores the goal here from the 2019-20 season:
Looking up Radim Zohorna goals wasn't at the top of my list today but the best-laid plans of mice and men...— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) April 29, 2020
The Penguins signed a 6-foot-6, 233 pounder from the Czech Republic who can play all three forward positions:https://t.co/NCGLcE6cPk pic.twitter.com/tEcevmaK3B
Radim Zohorna is a big bodied forward who has been something of a late bloomer that the Penguins took a chance on by signing to a one-year entry level deal this past April.
“Radim is a smart player with good hockey sense that uses his big size to his advantage,” GM Jim Rutherford said at the time. “His ability to play all three forward positions will help provide depth to our forward group.”
Zohorna has spent his entire pro career to this point playing in his native Czech league. He won two titles in 2017 and 2018 with HC Kometa Brno, playing a bigger role in 2018 when he finished sixth on the team in scoring in the playoff run.
Those team accomplishments aside, Zohorna’s individual career took off in 2019 after a move to BK Mlada Bolesav where he scored five goals in 11 games in 2018-19 followed by a career-year of 10 goals, 12 assists and 22 points in 46 games in 2019-20 to put him on the radar of earning an NHL contract.
Unfortunately for him, since this is uncharted territory in 2020, he has remained with Mlada Bolesav in 2020-21 on a loan, currently leading the team in scoring with 2G+3A in four games early in this season.
Zohorna has two older brothers who both play in the KHL and was a teammate of former Penguin Dominik Simon with the Czech’s 2019 World Championship team.
In a normal year, by now Zohorna would be cutting his teeth in North America in either the AHL or the ECHL. At 24 years old, his age is already probably counting against him in terms of making a big NHL impact unless he was really a diamond in the rough.
Zohorna’s Czech production didn’t suggest much of a huge future, but at 6’6 he’s got the ultimate factor that can’t be taught and has demonstrated some success in a big role on his current team. If he was a prospect that was a few years younger or was able to make the jump to the NHL a little sooner, his ceiling and future might seem even more promising.
As it stands now, he’s an older prospect with not much in the way of expectations and is dealing with circumstance of having this season be so unusual and abnormal.
Ideally he will get the chance still to show that he is a productive player at the AHL level and could even project to having an NHL future. However, at this point, Zohorna is a big time projection and probable low ceiling type of player which puts him at the bottom of the list this year, but still worthy enough with his size and recent upswing to earn a spot on the list.