He is one of the youngest players on the Czech world junior team, but his name has been around his country's hockey landscape for nearly 50 years. Defenseman Stanislav Svozil is a potential first-round pick in the 2021 draft and the third of his name when it comes to pro hockey.
Svozil's grandfather played for HC Prerov in the 1970s and 80s, while his father played for the same organization at the turn of the 21st century. Both were also named Stanislav and now they get to watch the newest generation of the clan graduate from Prerov, which plays in the second division, to Kometa Brno in the top-flight Extraliga.
Having that family experience has definitely been a plus for the teen defenseman.
"They give me some good advice even though we are so far from each other," Svozil said. "Especially my dad, he calls me after each game and we discuss my play. They both really helped me during my hockey career."
Svozil (who has a younger brother named David playing for Prerov's under-17 team) is in his second year with Brno and though he had yet to register a point in 10 games this year, his talents are obvious from watching him. As with many teens playing against men in Europe, Svozil doesn't take too many risks in the Extraliga, but it's clear he has the instincts and the skating ability to make things happen in the offensive end.
At the world juniors this year, Svozil has played with a lot more offensive panache and his puck-carrying skills have been very fun to watch. Though the Czechs have a largely veteran blueline corps in Edmonton, Svozil is one of the three defenders who will still be eligible to return next year, along with Chicago Blackhawks pick Michael Krutil and promising 2022 draft prospect David Jiříček.
"We have a good group of guys and I am glad that I can be part of this team," Svozil said. "The teammates that are older than me and David Jiříček really help us and make it much easier to stay here in the bubble."
A big fan of San Jose Sharks rearguard Erik Karlsson, Svozil naturally likes the way Karlsson plays on the offensive side of the puck. For himself, he knows he needs to get better in the defensive zone.
Svozil's major junior rights are owned by the WHL's Regina Pats, as that organization took him 15th overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. For now, however, Svozil is preoccupied with helping Kometa Brno get back on track once he returns from the world juniors. Brno currently sits ninth in the 14-team Extraliga and for a team that has won more league championships than any of their rivals, that simply won't do. Brno's alumni include longtime NHLer and new Seattle Kraken scouting director Robert Kron, Carolina Hurricanes youngster Martin Necas and Anaheim Ducks goalie prospect Lukas Dostal.
"It is an honor for me to be part of a team with such a huge history and so many great players," Svozil said. "This season has not been as successful as we expected. But I hope that we will reach the playoffs and make some good results by the end of the season."
Whatever happens, the future is bright for Svozil. He has the type of puckmoving game that NHL teams crave right now and he has already proven he can hang with men as a 17-year-old. And if he ever needs guidance, he knows who to call.