Who Do We Have With Marian Studenič?
Marian Studenič has been the most successful import player for the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs through the team’s short history. Hamilton GM Steve Staios identified Studenič as a valuable offensive leader for the Slovakian teams in both the Ivan Hlinka and the 2016 IIHF U18s, where he was featured in a top six role. Studenič rolled into Hamilton and was immediately identified as a dynamic, skilled forward who would need to fine tune his game and adjust to the defensive minded brand of North American hockey. Bulldog’s Coach John Gruden utilized the young forward as a winger on the second/third lines for the majority of the season, often playing with Michael Cramarossa or Brandon Saigeon. Studenič finished the season on the third line, often overpowering under-matched secondary opposition.
- NHL Central Scouting:
- Midterm – #86
- Final – #101
- ISS Hockey: #153
- Future Considerations: #109
- McKeen’s Hockey: #104
Studenič’s season splits has a direct correlation to the confidence he found in his game following his strong performance at the IIHF World Juniors. His shots per game increased from 1.79 to 2.4, and he found the back of the net often during the peak of his confidence. From January 26th to February 25th, Studenič went a point per game over 14 games, scoring 10 goals. What he needs to do in his draft +1 season is work that consistency into his daily routine. Provided he earns his ice time, this young man may be capable of a 60 point season.
- Brock Otten – OHL Prospects: “Really took me a long time to get on the Studenic train. Through the first half, he was invisible when I saw Hamilton play. I couldn’t, for the life of me, see the hype surrounding him and couldn’t understand why he was receiving high draft grades. But later on in the year, it was opposite. Every time I saw him play, he was terrific. Needless to say, consistency is the main issue here. Studenic is an exceptionally talented offensive player with speed to burn, great skill with the puck, and a great shot release. But when he’s not producing scoring chances, he’s a relatively invisible player.” (Source)
- Grant McCagg – Recrutes.ca: “He has good quickness edges and lateral agility that enable him to create scoring chances on most nights. What Studenic lacks however is Strome’s instincts/hockey sense, and while he was able to create scoring chances with his skating…he’s not nearly as creative or able to protect the puck as well as his big teammate, in large part because he is three inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter. Studenic had a 12-game stretch late in the season where he averaged a point-per-game and there was some hope that he was finally getting acclimated to the North American game, but at the end of the day he ended the season with just 30 points, and that will likely deter NHL teams from considering him in the top three rounds.” (Source)
- Kathryn Jean – Recrutes.ca: “Studenič is confident with the puck and protects it well while both standing still and in movement. He’s a smooth skater, quick hands and has very good vision. He made a harmless play into a quality scoring chance by picking off the puck and feathering a pass out front behind the Ottawa net. He makes good reads and quick decisions helping him create turnovers and create chances the other way – he did that at least twice in the game. His playmaking ability may be as good as his scoring. Studenič plays a good defensive game but can always improve. Adding more muscle would benefit the way he plays the game.” (Source)
Marian Studenič is a speedy, crafty offensive thrill ride on the ice. He possesses the ability to completely shift momentum for his team thanks to some very creative stick work and quick feet. He looks as though he dances on the ice thanks to a his strong edges and smooth cross-overs. He handles the puck with confidence, and prefers to lead the play into the offensive zone. He tends to dart through neutral ice, forcing defenders back. Sometimes he tries to do too much with the puck, but he often positions himself well to rip a quick wrist shot on net. He will need to work on ensuring he has teammates with him on these plays to ensure more dangerous opportunities.
He is very difficult to get off the puck despite his slight frame. Likely thanks to his experience playing in Slovakia’s highest men’s league, Studenič will recklessly drive to high possession zones of the ice. He will grind along the boards, and does surprisingly well for such a lean player. For fans who appreciate comparing players, Studenič has qualities similar to Czech NHL veteran Ales Hemsky.
Studenič has to work on staying engaged on ice without the puck. This is a player who will cheat towards offensive opportunities. Back checking was a skill that Hamilton coaching staff really focused on improving during the first half of the season.
Where will he go?
Although it may not be as high as he was hoping for when he crossed the pond, Marian Studenič will be drafted. Studenič has a boatload of experience between playing alongside Ziggy Palffy in Slovakia in the top men’s league, a IIHF Player of the Game Award (against Canada!) and now one full year of North American hockey. Studenič is represented by one of the highest profile agents in the NHL, and this says two things. One, you know Allan Walsh will be working his contacts to assist his client land in a good spot (Dallas and Detroit have plenty of his clients). Two, it looks better on Walsh in his international markets assisting young men entering the CHL Import Draft if he has high profile examples of success. I expect he’s been working the phones heavily this week.
Detroit has a history of success selecting highly skilled forwards that are light on muscle mass. Safe bet they see a lot of ability in Studenič, and have the foresight to look past his deficiencies. Red Wings in the 5th Round.
The 2017 NHL Draft Series
- Who Do We Have With Matthew Strome
- Who Do We Have With MacKenzie Entwistle
- Who Do We Have With Kaden Fulcher
Feature Image: Barry Gray / The Hamilton Spectator