Filip Novak: Biggest Surprise in Camp

By Brandon LeBourveau
Glen Sather selected Filip Novak in the 2nd Round of the 2000 Entry
Draft, the Rangers first selection of the day and also Sather’s first draft
pick with the Rangers. When drafted, the scouts said Novak was an offensively
gifted defenseman who can rush the puck up the ice. They also said he wasn’t
very good defensively, and his size (6’0 174) would hold him back a bit.
However, they felt confident enough in selecting the Czech native, and what a
selection it has turned out to be.

At 18 years old, all indications said Novak would not be with the team
when they left training camp in Burlington, Vermont to New York to start the
exhibition games, but Novak has played so well in camp that Rangers’ Head
Coach Ron Low said it’s “Scary”, referring to how well Novak looked in the
scrimmages and practices. Novak’s chances of making the team are still slim,
as other defensemen such as Tomas Kloucek and Dale Purinton have played great
as well, but he will be given every chance to make the team. All 3 defenseman
could make the team, but that would mean the Rangers would have to trade away
a couple of their defenders to make room. It’s more likely only 2 of
Purinton, Novak and Kloucek will make the team.

Filip didn’t play in the Rangers 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in
their first exhibition game yesterday, but he should play this Tuesday when
the Rangers host the Flyers at the Garden. The rest of the upcoming preseason
games is where Novak needs to play just as good as he did in scrimmages, if
not better to make the team.