Rebels pick Czech forward Tomas Chlubna at CHL Import Draft

The Red Deer Rebels have added a forward from the Czech Republic at the 2020 CHL Import Draft.

With the 18th overall pick, the Rebels also went with deep hockey bloodlines.

Red Deer selected six-foot-two, 183-pound right-shot winger Tomas Chlubna, 17, out of Jihlava, Czech Republic. His father, also named Tomas, had an 18-year pro hockey career in Europe.

Rebels assistant GM Shaun Sutter said Chlubna was high on their list and added the fact that he played the whole season in pro hockey last year is a strong endorsement for the teen.

Chlubna played 39 games last year with his home city club of Jihlava in the Czech Chance Liga, the second-highest level of pro hockey in the country. He recorded six goals and 16 assists in 39 games.

“We know from him playing with the Czech national team and playing pro hockey that he’s a guy with skill and has good offensive instincts– he can shoot the puck and provide some offence,” said Sutter, adding the team is confident Chlubna will report for training camp, which is tentatively planned for mid-September.

They also talked to former Rebels captain Adam Musil, who has a connection with the team’s newest addition. Musil, who played five seasons in Red Deer also played for Jihlava, the same youth organization that Chlubna played for.

“Adam Musil knows him a little bit so we were able to ask Adam a little bit (about) what he’s like as a person and player. We polled different NHL teams and watching video on him, did everything you could do,” Sutter said.

“This was a real weird import draft. Obviously there’s players being taken and players that have a desire to come over are two totally different things. Our belief is he has an interest to come.”

Chlubna is also eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He’s currently ranked 52nd by NHL Central Scouting among European skaters. He also one of four forwards invited the Czech Republic’s U20 training camp this summer and was captain of their five nations team. He played at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and recorded three assists in four games.

“He has an international resume, with playing on national teams and being the go-to player on all those teams,” Sutter said.

“He played pro hockey and he was the highest-scoring forward that was 18 or younger. Most of the kids are playing junior or even playing midget, but he was the guy playing pro… he’s always been a go-to guy and I think he’s got a chance to be picked in the NHL Draft. He’s a guy we’ve been watching for a while.”

The Rebels have a strong history with Czech-born forwards. Kristian Reichel joined the team in 2017 and had a breakout year in his only WHL season, going on to play pro hockey with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Red Deer also landed Michael Spacek in the 2015 CHL Import Draft. In 120 games over two season, Spacek recorded 47 goals and 76 assists. He was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the fourth round, 108th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

With Finnish blueliner Christoffer Sedoff returning to the Rebels, Red Deer only made one pick in the draft Tuesday.

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