By: Mark Lester (@futureofphilly)
With a plethora of goalie prospects in the pipeline, including Carter Hart, Felix Sandstrom, Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, Philadelphia Flyers 2015 third-round selection Matej Tomek often gets forgotten.
Tomek spent the 2014-15 season in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) with the Topeka Roadrunners. He boasted a 1.83 goals-against-average along with a .928 save percentage in 33 regular season games. Tomek’s impressive campaign made him one of the top goaltenders available in his draft class, and was eventually selected 90th overall by the Flyers.
Tomek committed himself to the University of North Dakota (UND) following the 2014-15 season. However, his stint in the NCAA did not go according to plan.
The native of Bratislava, Slovakia appeared in a grand total of two games for UND. That’s right, over his two-year college career, Tomek played just twice. Due to a logjam of goalies on the roster, he rarely got a chance to play. He spent the majority of games in the press box as UND’s third-string goaltender. And when he did step into occasional game action, Tomek was poor (7.46 goals-against-average and .792 save percentage in two games).
Tomek did get the opportunity to represent Slovakia at the 2017 World Junior Championship, where he was decent. In fact, the 20-year old was peppered with shots in a match against USA, where he held his own, turning aside 45 out of 50 shots.
The 6’3” netminder was selected in the United States Hockey League (USHL) draft back in May by the Waterloo Blackhawks.
— Waterloo Black Hawks (@BlckHawksHockey) May 2, 2017
Tomek’s days at the University of North Dakota are now over. A day after being drafted by Waterloo, the Slovakian goaltender confirmed that he would indeed be continuing his career in the USHL.
— Matej Tomek (@MatejTomek42) May 3, 2017
The USHL is one of the top developmental leagues in the world, and it consists of players 20 years of age or younger. Current Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov spent a year with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the USHL in 2013-14.
After two years of wasted development in the NCAA, the once highly-touted goalie will have an excellent opportunity to get some games under his belt in the USHL. Tomek made a decision to leave college two years early in an attempt to pursue his NHL dream. Due to the abundance of goalies in the Flyers system, this upcoming season will be absolutely crucial for Tomek. He will need to impress in order to prove that he is still a high-end goalie prospect with NHL potential.
Image Credit: UND Athletics