Velebny a Work in Progress

By Stephen J. Holodinsky

Summing up Lubos Velebny’s play to date, Hockey’s Future’s Analyst for the London Knights Jason Ahrens does not hesitate to say he is “disappointed with his performance so far.” While it is true, the Slovak is in the top pairing and plays heavy minutes with the club in all situations, the Knights are presently in last place in the OHL’s West Division so one might wonder where he might fit into a rotation such as Plymouth’s who are currently in first. Something that stands out to Ahrens are the lack of results offensively. “I thought he would have far more points at this stage of the season, as he plays on every power play and usually starts it. He no doubt leads the Knights and maybe the OHL in shots that are blocked, so his decision making hasn’t improved much from last year.”

Ahrens goes on to say that the rearguard “reminds me a bit of Igor Ulanov, a guy who gets too cute in his own end sometimes and gets burned as Oiler fans saw last year in playoffs several times. But has some good abilities like Ulanov and has the ability to make the big hit too. (He) definitely has big league tools, size, shot, skating are (they are all) there, (but he) needs to work on (the) tool box.”

As the Knights have been playing with only five defensemen in a few contests lately this naturally means more icetime for all of the blueliners. As with the Waterloo Blackhawks last year, Velebny looks to be struggling somewhat with the mental aspect of the game at this point and perhaps moving him up to the CHL might have been a bit too much too soon. That said, there is still over half a season to go and hopefully a chance for the Slovak to improve his grade somewhat before the year ends.