Milan Kytnar

Late in the 2007 draft, the Edmonton Oilers invested their final three picks on some rather unheralded Euros – smallish forward Linus Omark, Slovakian junior Milan Kytnar, and big Swedish forward William Quist. Omark has developed very nicely since draft day, and after a big-time season in the Elitserien he’s signed a contract with the KHL after being unable to come to terms with the Oilers. Quist has been a trainwreck; refusing advice from the Oilers to the point where he really isn’t on the map anymore, and if I’m reading the CBA right will re-enter the draft when the Oilers don’t sign him this summer.

That just leaves Milan Kytnar (seen above fighting Ryan Bender, who put up 6 points and 198 PIM in 2007-08). Kytnar came over to North America following the draft, putting up 22 points for the Kelowna Rockets in his WHL debut at age 18. This past season he was sent to Lorne Molleken’s Saskatoon Blades, finishing second on the team in scoring (65GP – 27G – 37A – 64PTS, +15). He also played for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship, where he scored six points in seven games as Slovakia finished 4th.

He’s also in need of a contract if the Oilers wish to retain his rights. Here’s what Kevin Prendergast had to say about Kytnar on The Pipeline Show a few weeks back:

“[Kytnar]’s a special player in a way, 25 goals for a Slovak kid. Lorne Molleken’s obviously a good friend of ours because he coached in our system, couldn’t say enough good things about Milan. He was a team leader, did exactly everything he had to do. Ended up asking the team to put him in school because he was bored and he ended up teaching the players in the buses on the bus trips; he’s a special personality.”
“I think at this point Milan is somebody that we’re certainly going to pursue.”

Kytnar isn’t at the top end of the Oilers prospect list (I have him at #17, Lowetide had him at #20 this winter and Hockey’s Future doesn’t rank him in the top-20) but he’s climbing fast and may yet be a player of interest.

There are a couple of other points from that link to Lowetide’s report. He’s got good bulk (6’1”, 197lbs) for his age, and the final ISS scouting report that Lowetide quotes says some nice things about him:

“Reliable two-way center plays hard every shift. Great hand-eye, anticipates well, coachable. Strong skater with a minus first step, good hands and size. Accurate passer, can shadow his man. Good playmaker who sees the ice well. “

Lorne Molleken has been very supportive of Kytnar since he traded for him and implied that his season in Kelowna was more adjustment period and circumstance than anything else.

Based on Prendergast’s comments and the sharp turnaround in Kytnar’s offensive production, I imagine the Oilers get him signed before the deadline. He might be better suited to another year in junior rather than being put into the AHL/ECHL development system at this point, but he’s a good prospect to have in the system; that ISS scouting report could just has easily been applied to Kyle Brodziak a few years ago.