Toronto Maple Leafs 2018 5th round pick Filip Kral is headed to the Czech Republic’s 2nd pro league for the beginning of the 2020-21 season:

Kral is a 6’1″ LD who amassed 27 games with HC Kometa Brno in the top Czech league before coming to the WHL in his draft year. He was signed to an ELC April 1st, after recording 49 points in 53 WHL games in 2019-20. He represented the Czech Republic in the past two World Junior Championships.

It is somewhat surprising that Kral landed in a lower league, on a team he has not played for in the past. Prerov is over an hour from Kral’s home town of Blansko, perhaps it was just an opportunity to play big minutes on a top team in the league.

When the AHL and ECHL resume the expectation would be that Kral returns to the Toronto Marlies or Newfoundland Growlers. Given the depth the Marlies have on the blueline I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kral take the Mac Hollowell development route, first playing big minutes in the ECHL before graduating to the AHL.

HC Prerov has already begun pre-season games, so Kral will have an opportunity to get on the ice immediately. For players who don’t seek other places to play, the time between AHL games this year will be over 8 months. Whether it’s the top league or not getting back on the ice is a big positive for Kral, who has developed a reputation as an efficient two-way defenceman.