With a sixth-round pick (No. 171 overall) the Kings selected right winger Tomas Hyka from Gatineau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Hyka, a 19-year-old native of the Czech Republic, is listed at 5-foo-11, 160 pounds. This season, he had 20 goals and 44 assists in 50 games for Gatineau.
Hyka has an interesting backstory. He was not drafted last year, but was invited to training camp by the Philadelphia Flyers and, according to reports, was impressive. The Flyers gave him time on a line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, but Hyka had to return to his junior team because of a rule that prevents undrafted European players from signing with an NHL team before the age of 22. Hyka led Gatineau in scoring this season.
The website hockeysfuture.com analyzed Hyka this way: “A skilled speedster who was passed over in last year’s draft, Hyka was likely passed over because of his lack of size and strength. He proved his doubters wrong with an impressive rookie campaign in the QMJHL, even though he spent his fair share of the season sitting out with injury. A dynamic offensive talent, Hyka has great hands to go along with his quick legs. It was only due to some confusion over his eligibility that Hyka was not signed last summer and he won’t be overlooked again this year.”
For an in-depth story about Hyka’s past year, from NHL.com, click here.