The 2012 NHL Draft gets underway this Friday and continues through Saturday, and there is still plenty of speculating surrounding who the Chicago Blackhawks will take with their No. 18 pick. Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir has the Blackhawks taking center Tomas Hertl who has been playing in the Czech Republic.
Say what you want about the diminished talent in the Czech league. It's still populated with men, and Hertl managed 25 points in 38 games playing against them. Scouts love his big body and believe he still has some filling out to do, which bodes well for a physical/defensive style that has earned comparisons to Martin Hanzal. Beyond that, he's a bit limited. Hertl's not the most agile skater or finisher, and he has a tendency to try to do too much. If he simplifies his game and learns to use his wingers more effectively, he could mature into a solid checking center.
In addition to playing in the Czech league, Hertl has been part of the Czech Republic's 18-under national team in 2010-11 and then in 2011-12 played for their 20-under team.