Eduard Sale (pronounced SHAH-lay), selected No. 20 overall by the Seattle Kraken, is a 6-foot-2 left-shot winger. He played at the professional level this season in perhaps the third-best league in the world, Czechia’s Extraliga, for HC Kometa Brno.
Quick thoughts on the pick
On the one hand, this is a swing on talent. The Elite Prospects team had this to say on Sale: “[On] sheer talent alone, Sale is a no-brainer top-10 pick. Perhaps even higher.” On the other hand, this isn’t an example of drafting an unproductive player. To the contrary, he checked in at No. 21 overall in the Sound Of Hockey consensus analytics ranking. My NHLe calculation pegged him as the 25th best prospect in the draft.
Eduard Sale player profile
Left Wing | HC Kometa Brno (Extraliga) | Age: 18 | Height: 6’1.75″ | Weight: 175 lbs | Left shot
What’s next for Eduard Sale?
Sale has been closely scrutinized, playing at a top professional level in Czechia from a very young age. But this experience makes him one of the more pro-ready prospects in the draft. It’s also possible he could come to North America this season to play in the OHL for the Barrie Colts, according to Jeff Marek.
Alternatively, he could be a candidate to follow in the footsteps of countryman David Jiricek and play in the AHL immediately. If so, there would be yet more reason to fire up AHL.tv and watch the Coachella Valley Firebirds again next year.
What does the Big Board say?
At the time the Kraken drafted, Sale was the second-highest ranked remaining player on the Sound Of Hockey Big Board at No. 17 overall. Only Gabe Perreault was ranked higher at No. 14. There were some highly productive North American players that were still on the board at the time of the Kraken’s pick (Perreault, Quinton Musty, and Andrew Cristall) that I thought would likely be strong considerations, but of those players only Musty’s physical tools compare with Sale’s. Sale’s highest ranking was No. 7 overall by Craig Button of TSN.
How does he look on the ice?
What are scouts saying?
Strengths: “His movement stands out as a top trait, stemming from technically sound skating mechanics. He’s able to accelerate quite quickly, reaching his top speed effortlessly. He might just be one of the fastest prospects in the draft. It’s not just his straight-line skating either. He has strong edges that he utilizes to change direction quickly and suddenly, making him hard to predict as he attacks in the offensive zone. . . . His puckhandling is nearly as good as his skating . . . . He’s able to head into traffic with the puck or without and come out with it with relative ease. He also regularly jumps into board battles and isn’t afraid to get physical in his play. He plays without any lack of confidence, sometimes even overconfident as he cheats to the offensive side of the puck. He has a strong shot but does need to work on his accuracy at times. He’s just as good at dishing it out though, showing off great vision as he moves the puck around the offensive end. . . . What might just be Sale’s most intriguing attribute though is his ability to play in all situations. He can be depended on during the penalty kill, and more than contributes at even strength and on the power play. He can play up and down the lineup and be relied on in the dying minutes of a game.” – McKeen’s Draft Guide
Weaknesses: “Where he does need to focus is his consistency, as he can tend to lack urgency or off-puck commitment depending on the scoreboard. When he needs to be, he’s on, but this needs to be the case every time he hits the ice.” – McKeen’s Draft Guide
Where can I find more information?
- Corey Pronman of The Athletic (link) ($$): ranked Sale No. 24 overall
- Scott Wheeler of The Athletic (link) ($$): ranked Sale No. 14 overall
- Chris Peters of FloHockey (link): ranked Sale No. 21 overall
- Smaht Scouting (link): ranked Sale No. 18 overall
There are a lot of things working in favor of this pick. Sale is a tall, toolsy player with good speed and skating skill. And beyond that his data profile already supports his status as a first-round pick. Add to that the fact that he has performed at an adequate level in a high-level professional league already as an 18-year-old, and there are many different ways to look at Sale and like the pick.
Kraken general manager Ron Francis has often said he looks to his scouts and analytics department to support each other before making a move. This looks like a pick where both sides of the front office were able to find common ground, and with director of amateur scouting Robert Kron having plenty of connections in his native Czechia, he undoubtedly had plenty of information about Sale.