A long-shot, left-shooting forward prospect taken by the Florida Panthers in the sixth round (184th overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft, Czech Jakub Kos is currently plying his trade in Finland as he works towards his goal of securing an NHL entry-level contract.
Kos spent his draft season, his second in Suomi, playing for Ilves organization’s U20 club, where he produced five goals and 13 assists in 32 games to catch the eye of Panthers general Bill Zito and his scouting staff. He also represented his home country in the U18 World Championship, where he produced one goal and one assist and racked up 12 PIM in five games as Czechia was bounced in the quarterfinals by eventual gold medal-winner Canada.
This season, Kos played 37 games split between the first and second level of Finnish hockey. In 17 top-flight Liiga games with Ilves, he scored a goal and added two helpers. In 20 games in Mestis with last place KOOVEE, his burgeoning offensive ability was much more evident as he produced three goals and 13 assists.
In the postseason relegation tournament, where the bottom four teams in Mestis played a double round-robin against the top two teams in third level Suomi-sarja, Kos was a force, piling up ten points (3G/7A) in 9 games played to help KOOVEE keep its spot in the fourteen team second tier.
Like fellow prospect Justin Sourdif, Kos took part in the canceled first run of the 2022 World Junior Championship back in December, seeing fourth line duty in both of the games in which Czechia took to the ice.
He played 8:34 and registered a shot on goal in the opener against Canada (a 6-3 loss) while his ice time decreased to 6:17 in the 2-1 overtime win over Germany.
With the tournament getting a redo in August it will be interesting to see if Kos again makes the Czech roster. Games against the best of his peer group are very important to any 19-year-old prospect.
While a long way off, Kos is the type of player who could eventually find his way to the NHL and play a bottom six role because he knows his strengths and sticks to them. He’s quick, has a big frame and is a dogged forechecker. He’ll need more time in Liiga and likely some additional AHL games before he’ll be ready for the NHL if and when he signs an entry-level contract.