Rostislav Klesla (Brampton Battalion, OHL
NHL draft: Columbus Blue Jackets)
No doubt about this guy. The first ever draft choice of the Blue Jackets will be the anchor of the defense. A rugged offensive defenseman likes to punish the players in front of his own net and then to rush with the puck and pass it wisely. This hard fighter isn’t afraid of anybody and can score some points. He can play at the 2002 WJC, too, but by this time he’ll be most likely a regular with the Blue Jackets.
Libor Ustrnul (Plymouth Whalers, OHL
NHL draft: Atlanta Thrashers)
If I was an opponent of the Czechs and would see Libor wanting to hit me, I would rather move aside. This hulking defenseman, nicknamed “Drago”, stands at 6’5”, 235 lbs. at the age of 18. He won’t score a lot of points, but he’ll break the opponent’s bones. Great to have this heavyweight on the roster, he’ll be one of the most feared defensemen in the tournament. He can also play at the 2002 WJC.
Jakub Cutta (Swift Current Broncos, WHL
NHL draft: Washington Capitals)
The second NHLer on the roster played 3 games with the Caps. The former player of Liberec is a responsible stay-at-home defenseman with good skating and passing skills. He isn’t too offensive, but only rarely does a mistake. He reads the game well and will be one of the personalities on the team.
Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen, WHL NHL draft: New York Rangers)
What to say about this great forward and a possible NHL star? Only that with Brendl on the roster the Czechs lead 1:0 even before the game started. He is an offensive miracle, now more responsible defensively, has all the tools and still averages 1 goal and 1 assist pro a WHL game. He now wants to play for the Czechs to make a name for himself at the WJC. Hope he will!
Zdenek Blatny (Kootenay Ice, WHL
NHL draft: Atlanta Thrashers)
The former player of HC Kometa Brno plays in the WHL for 3 years. He benefits from playing on the first line of the Ice with Jarrett Stoll and Mike Comrie, WHL scoring leader. He has great size and also posesses good scoring skills. He’ll be a power forward and create a lot of scoring opportunities for his high-scoring teammates.
Martin Erat (Saskatoon Blades, WHL
NHL draft: Nashville Predators)
The new WHL player of the month November breaks out in Saskatoon this year. He has now put the intangibles together and scores a lot of points. A great skater and stickhandler, Martin will probably be the scorer of his line.
Radim Vrbata (Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
NHL draft: Colorado Avalanche)
The native of Mlada Boleslav has taken the QMJHL by storm this year. The still unsigned Avalanche draft pick was named the offensive player of the month October and is second in league scoring. His numbers are even better than those of Pavel Brendl, but Vrbata played more games than Brendl. Vrbata is a great skater with an accurate shot and good passing skills. Will create the scoring duo with Brendl.
Lukas Havel (Brampton Battalion, OHL
NHL draft: none)
Another player of Stan Butler and Rostislav Klesla’s teammate is the only undrafted player invited form the CHL this year. Maybe due to his size, Lukas is just 5’9”, but at the WJC he’ll show his explosive speed and scoring touch. This smart player could impress the scouts.
Name Pos Team NHL draft Tomas Duba G HC Sparta Praha Lukas Cucela G HC Vitkovice Michal Fikrt G HC Litvinov Rostislav Klesla D Brampton (OHL) Columbus Libor Ustrnul D Plymouth (OHL) Atlanta Jakub Cutta D Swift Current (WHL)Washington Jan Vytisk D HC Vitkovice David Pojkar D HC Slavia Praha Jan Choteborsky D HC Keramika Plzen David Nosek D HC Ocelari Trinec Jakub Grof D HC Karlovy Vary Petr Puncochar D HC Karlovy Vary 2001 Pavel Dvorak D HC Pardubice Petr Zajgla F HC Slovnaft Vsetin Jiri Hudler F HC Slovnaft Vsetin 2002 Patrik Moskal F HC Ocelari Trinec Jiri Polansky F HC Ocelari Trinec Tomas Plekanec F HC Kladno 2001 Ladislav Vlcek F HC Kladno Dallas Pavel Brendl F Calgary (WHL) NY Rangers Zdenek Blatny F Kootenay (WHL) Atlanta Martin Erat F Saskatoon (WHL) Nashville Radim Vrbata F Shawinigan (QMJHL) Colorado Lukas Havel F Brampton (OHL) Vaclav Nedorost F HC Ceske Budejovice Colorado Michal Sivek F HC Sparta Praha Washington Ivan Rachunek F HC Continental Zlin Tampa Bay Marek Tomica F HC Slavia Praha