Second City Hockey’s 2020-21 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2020. The rankings are determined by a composite score from three SCH writers and community member, L_B_R. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.
Michal Teply made a name for himself in his first season in North America.
He led the WHL in rookie scoring (albeit quite a bit older than most rookies), was second on his team despite missing nine games (although Peyton Krebs, third on the team, missed 24) and scored nearly 30 goals. He also was the Czech Republic’s leading scorer with five assists at the World Junior Championship.
That’s coming off a draft where Teply fell to the Blackhawks in a position where he should be considered a steal based on his “expected pick range” (lower 42, upper 85) by Colin Cudmore of SB Nation’s Silver Seven. Teply also continues the Blackhawks’ focus on size (6-foot-3) with a power forward game.
After his WHL season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Teply returned to his native Czech Republic and stayed there throughout the summer. He’s only played one game for his new Czech Extraliga team, BK Mladá Boleslav, but did scored four points (one goal, three assists) for the Czech national team in the Karjala Cup.
Teply plays both a skill and power game, mainly at left wing. His ceiling is a middle-six winger who can play well in his own end. He has size and a great shot, but there still concerns about his skating and how much his offensive game will translate as a pro.
This past season showed a glimpse of what Teply could do. He led all WHL rookies in goals, assists and points and was a Top 3 Player on the Czech’s World Juniors team. This season will hopefully be a glimpse of what he can do as a pro.
All signs point to Teply playing in the Czech Republic until he heads to Edmonton to play in the World Juniors tournament. Once the tournament is completed, he could head to Winnipeg to start playing in the WHL staring Jan. 8 then transition to the AHL once the Rockford IceHogs get going Feb. 4. In the WHL, he’d return to his top-line role. In the AHL, he’ll likely get middle-six ice time and should be on the second power play unit.