Czech Republic Draft Review

By Robert Neuhauser
The 2002 NHL Entry Draft was supposed to be one of the historical for Czech hockey.
Most of the players of the exceptional 1984 birthyear could be had at this crop and really
a new record concerning the Czech players was reached. For the first time in history there
were four Czechs picked in the first round of the draft. Still, there were some surprises
as players like Jiri Hudler and Martin Cizek slipped more far in the draft than expected
by most people around hockey. Two overage players also heard their name called and they are
most likely the only ones who could have a NHL sniff next season. But this crop is full of
promising talent and in two or three years the NHL could begin to feel their presence. So
let’s come to the names!

Petr Taticek
Position: center
Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Born: September, 22nd, 1983
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 188 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Florida Panthers, 1st round, 9th overall

The son of a former Kladno defenseman was the first Czech to hear his name selected at the
2002 NHL Entry Draft. After an inspiring inaugural OHL campaign Taticek’s stock took a heavy
rise and finally the Florida Panthers swapped the picks with Calgary Flames to get the
Greyhounds center. Petr is a player Mike Keenan will love. Even when he won’t feel the
methods of the ‘Iron Mike’ for most likely one more season, he can be counted as a future
second-line center for the Panthers. A brilliant all-round player with terrfic playmaking
skills, size and a portion of toughness, Taticek is also on the way to develop into a strong
faceoff specialist. He won’t be rushed to the NHL and will need one more year to gain more
intensity and determination before he is ready to contribute. There are great signs that he’ll
enjoy a long, succesfull NHL career.

Jakub Klepis
Position: center
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Born: June, 5th, 1984
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 200 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: Ottawa Senators, 1st round, 16th overall

After going North American at the last NHL draft the Senators returned on the usual route
of European first-rounders, which brought them gems like Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat or Anton
Volchenkov. This time it is playmaking whiz Jakub Klepis who took the WHL by storm with his
crafty playmaking skills and an ability to shine as a two-way forward. The Sens often look for
highly skilled Europeans in the opening rounds and with Klepis they have one more. An
unselfish player and explosive skater, Jakub has a bright vision and hockey sense which enable
him to make great plays. He also thrives on penalty killing units and isn’t afraid to mix it
up with his intensity and solid toughness. Klepis has the soft hands of a musical
instrumentalist and handles the puck extremly well. Sayed goodbye to the WHL and signed a
contract with his parent team HC Slavia Praha for the next season. If he makes enough impact,
then he could have a shot at the NHL, but more likely it will take two years.

Jakub Koreis
Position: center
Team: HC Keramika Plzen
Born: June, 26th, 1984
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 198 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Phoenix Coyotes, 1st round, 19th overall

Wayne Gretzky and his staff added some size to their lineup with both of their first round
picks, Jakub Koreis and Ben Eager. Koreis isn’t such an intimidating physical presence or
has the pugilistic prowess of Eager, but is loaded with nearly the same size and lots of
skill to go along with that frame. Jakub is a deft playmaker and a lethal shooter who
gives everything to the team’s success and isn’t afraid of getting his nose dirty along
the boards. Very solid in the faceoff circle, Koreis is developing into a premiere power
forward and could have a smooth transition to North America. He’ll spend at least one more
season home with Plzen to work on his skating, footspeed and maturity before he’ll make the
jump to the NHL, Jakub will be given the time to develop. But in one or two years expect him
to seriously challenge for a job with the Yotes.

To read a detailed article on Jakub Koreis Click Here

Martin Vagner
Position: defenseman
Team: Hull Olympiques (QMJHL)
Born: March, 16th, 1984
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 215 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Dallas Stars, 1st round, 26th overall

A good snag for the Stars taking Vagner with the 26th pick, the Hull Olympiques blueliner
was expected to be picked long before Doug Armstrong made the way to the podium. Martin
enjoyed a huge first QMJHL season and is on the way to become a superb two-way reaguard.
Vagner is a poised puckhandler and a smooth skater who has the tools of a puckrushing
defenseman. He
can dominate the defensive zone with his intriguing size, skating skill and a great mobility
but still it looks like he has to put the pieces of the puzzle together sometimes. He’ll
rejoin the Olympiques for his second campaign in the ‘Q’ before he can be called as ready
to challenge for a roster spot with the Stars. A softer version of Anton Babchuk taken by
Chicago ahead of him, Vagner has the talent to succeed as a top four NHL defenseman in the
future.

To read a detailed article on Martin Vagner Click Here

Ondrej Nemec
Position: defenseman
Team: HC Vsetin
Born: April, 18th, 1984
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 192 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: Pittsburgh Penguins, 2nd round, 35th overall

Pittsburgh Penguins obviously couldn’t resist the temptation to pick the undersized but
extremly smart Ondrej Nemec, one of the few players in this draft with already one full
season of pro hockey under his belt. Craig Patrick definitely wanted to boost his defensive
corps after taking rugged Ryan Whitney in the first round and with the second-rounder he
acquired a highly talented puck-moving blueliner with a strong hockey sense and excellent
passing skills. Nemec can be used as both quarterback and pointman on the powerplay thanks
to his hard accurate slapper and he likes to carry the puck out of the defensive zone and
make outlet passes. Even if not overly big, Ondrej doesn’t shy away from the physical
play and fights along boards a lot. Will stay in the Czech Extraleague for at least one more
season to hone his skill and after that he’ll decide what next. You can see him in a Pens
uniform in quite a short time given his maturity and smarts.

To read a detailed article on Ondrej Nemec Click Here

Tomas Linhart
Position: defenseman
Team: HC Pojistovna Pardubice
Born: February, 16th, 1984
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 209 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Montreal Canadiens, 2nd round, 45th overall

Quite early the Montreal Canadiens grabbed the rugged Pardubice defenseman Tomas Linhart,
who has definitely overcome his shoulder injuries, which spoiled his second half of the
previous season. Linhart will be a boost to the Habs’ defensive corps with his savvy defense,
booming shot and signs of a mean streak. Tomas isn’t hard as nails but won’t shy away from
the physical play, he even likes to mix it up. A mobile blueliner, Tomas won’t leave you
stunned with finesse puckhandling but with reliable play and competitivness. The next
season he plans to stay in Europe more than coming over to the CHL and will be looking to
make a leap to the senior ranks, either in the Div I league or less likely the Extraleague.
The Habs have found a potential top six NHL defenseman with this pick, Linhart won’t make
much of an impact the next two years but then he’ll be probably ready.

To read a detailed article on Tomas Linhart Click Here

Jiri Hudler
Position: center
Team: HC Vsetin
Birthdate: January, 4th, 1984
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 163 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Detroit Red Wings, 2nd round, 58th overall

A huge fall. These three words describe Jiri Hudler’s draft story. Or also an absolute steal
for the Red Wings if he pans out like expected. The player predicted by almost everybody
as a lock to be picked in the top 15 had actually cracked just the top 60 and became only
the 7th Czech player selected. He is currently re-habbing from a knee injury he suffered
late in the season, but still had a very respectable showing where he averaged exactly one
point per game. One of the best pure skilled players of the draft, Hudler already recorded
his third season of senior hockey. He sees the ice like only a very few players can and has
terrific playmaking skills and hockey sense. Also a great skater and stickhandler, Hudler
has everything except size. Stated that he wants to play in the NHL the next season, but now
he can forget it. The Red Wings will have him playing in Europe the next season before having
a real look at him. Chances are they’ll be mesmerized.

To read an interview with Jiri Hudler Click Here or to read a detailed article about him, Click Here.

Tomas Fleischmann
Position: center/right wing
Team: HC Vitkovice
Born: May, 16th, 1984
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 172 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Detroit Red Wings, 2nd round, 63rd overall

The Red Wings continued their love affair with the Czech players after selecting Tomas
Fleischmann soon after picking Jiri Hudler. Not such a well-known talent as Hudler, Tomas
took advantage of his strong draft-year play to establish himself as a legitimate prospect
who has a chance to reach the NHL and enjoy a solid career. Still a bit of a longshot,
Fleischmann will need to add some bulk to his frame and the Red Wings will definitely want
him to do so. The skinny forward Fleischmann explodes once on the puck, showing his finesse
and a persistant drive to the net. Tomas is an agile skater and a crafty puckhandler, his
backwards are lack of defensive play and sub-par aggresivness. He will need time to pan
out and don’t expect him to challenge for a roster spot in the next three years. The skill
is here, now some nasty edge.

Petr Kanko
Position: right wing
Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Born: February, 7th, 1984
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 195 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Los Angeles Kings, 3rd round, 66th overall

Another drop, the stocky winger Petr Kanko was expected by many to hear his name selected
in the second round, maybe even late in the first. If he would continue his strong play
from the first half of the season, there were good signs that he would accomplish that.
But Petr has faded and this is one of the reasons why the Kings were able to snag him early
in the third round. Not overly big, but build like a dump truck, Kanko isn’t only a superb
skater with a fluid stride, but he also isn’t afraid of throwing his body around. Petr
handles the puck very well and is able to make plays at top speed. He also has sniper’s
instincts and likes to shoot the puck. A belligerent forward, Kanko doesn’t shine defensively,
but will create lots of offense and can contribute as a pest. The Kings have found bright
gems as Frolov, Lehoux or Cammalleri recently and Petr Kanko can easily join them.

Lukas Mensator
Position: goaltender
Team: HC Becherovka Karlovy Vary
Born: August, 18th, 1984
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 154 lbs.
Catches: L
NHL draft: Vancouver Canucks, 3rd round, 83rd overall

The Canucks ensured themselves at the goaltending position with picking the smallish Lukas
Mensator, who is among the world’s top netminders of his age cathegory. The Canucks are
set in goal with Dan Cloutier and Peter Skudra but they needed to add some talent to the
pipeline, where only Alex Auld shines. Now they have Mensator, a diminutive, resilient
goalie with a superb dexterity. Lukas makes up for his lack of size with his aggresive
play and strong skating. A butterfly goalie, Lukas posesses great reflexes and quickness
to go along with his strong glove hand. Thanks to his size deficiency he doesn’t cover
lots of net and he could also use better stickhandling. Mensator is going to try his luck
in the CHL as he doesn’t any serious chance for competing at the senior level in the Czech
Republic.
Can push for a NHL backup job in about three or four years.

To read a detailed article on Lukas Mensator Click Here

Marek Chvatal
Position: defenseman
Team: HC Ocelari Trinec
Birthdate: January, 27th, 1984
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 176 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: New Jersey Devils, 3rd round, 84th overall

With this pick the Devils were probably looking to add a weaker version of Scott Niedermayer
to their lineup. Marek Chvatal doesn’t have Niedermayers phenomenal skating and acceleration,
but also has a high skill level. Chvatal is a finesse defenseman who is capable of making
smooth decisions with the puck and make crisp outlet passes. His shooting skills could be
improved, but Marek capitalizes on his excellent instincts to support the offense.
Marek isn’t a devastating hitter, more a positional player and he could show more of his nasty
edge, else he will be pummeled by tougher NHL players. Marek has a bright vision and reads
the plays very well. Is going to leave his Czech team Trinec and is headed for the CHL.
There he’ll be working to upgrade his toughness and determination. David Conte doesn’t make
many bad picks and Chvatal is a two-way blueliner who could appear in the Devils jersey after
two or three years.

To read an interview with Marek Chvatal Click Here

Jonas Fiedler
Position: right wing
Team: Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Born: May, 29th, 1984
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 173 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: San Jose Sharks, 3rd round, 86th overall

Selecting Jonas Fiedler in the third round may be considered a reach, but Jonas’ above-average
inaugural OHL campaign obviously convinced the Sharks scouting staff that there is something
in his play which makes him a must for the Sharks. The lanky forward Fiedler was the Sharks
first CHL pick after selecting two high-schoolers and it is sure that Jonas will continue
his stint with the Whalers for the next season and more likely for his whole junior eligibility.
Versatile and deceptively quick, Fiedler
also found a commitment to defense to go along with his very solid puckhandling skills
and an ability to maneuver through heavy traffic. He is a strong playmaker and still finds
the net regularly with his quite accurate shots. He definitely needs to bulk up and add
pounds to his skinny frame. Intensity and aggresivness is also a question but there are good signs
that Jonas will improve with more OHL seasoning.

Jakub Hulva
Position: center/right wing
Team: HC Vitkovice
Born: May, 6th, 1984
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 160 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Buffalo Sabres, 4th round, 108th overall

Not heavily build, but smart and skilled – with those attributes the Vitkovice forward Jakub
Hulva could impress the Buffalo Sabres scouts well enough to pick him in the fourth round of
this year’s draft. Jakub is a player who split this season at three different levels of Czech
hockey, besides showing up for both the Vitkovice juniors and seniors he skated also with Opava
of the Div I league. Hulva can draw comparisons to current Sabre Maxim Afinogenov, only with
slightly less speed, or to Ottawa Senators Martin Havlat. Jakub is a quick skater with
superb balance and a decent burst of speed. He handles the puck extremly well with his
smooth hands and can score and pass equally well, even if he tends to make a pass than to
shoot the puck. Jakub is a versatile player who can be used as both center and right winger,
but won’t fill the bill as a checking forward. He doesn’t play aggresively well and could
improve defensively. The Sabres looked for finesse skill here and they got it in Jakub Hulva.

Petr Dvorak
Position: center
Team: HC Havirov Panthers
Born: October, 11th, 1983
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 194 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: Washington Capitals, 4th round, 118th overall

Not a very known prospect, Petr Dvorak is one of the players who will be stepping up in the
near future. Blessed with lots of talent and hockey sense, Petr was still a bit hidden
in the Havirov team and was only a marginal performer for the junior national teams of his
age. But his very strong last season and a fact that he still has lots of untapped potential
made him an attractive commodity for the Caps.
A quick, crafty
skater who can turn on a dime, Dvorak brings a nice mix of grit and skill and shows signs
of developing into a scoring threat. Petr boasts a very accurate wrister and is a coveted
powerplay and penalty killing units player. He handles the puck extremly well with his
soft hands and seems to always find a way how to slip through traffic. Thanks to his solid
vision is Petr capable of strong passes and he has also a nose for the net. Dvorak is more of a
longshot prospect and it will take some time before he can be called a contender.

David Turon
Team: HC Havirov Panthers
Position: defenseman
Born: October, 4th, 1983
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 187 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: Toronto Maple Leafs, 4th round, 122nd overall

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a strong recent history of drafting Czech defensemen with Tomas
Kaberle, Marek Posmyk, Petr Svoboda and Tomas Mojzis all being originally drafted by the Leafs
in the near past. Now sized David Turon is added to the bunch. A skilled rocket-launcher,
David also brings a very solid defensive play to the table with a decent portion of grit
and determination.
For a player of his size David has a solid mobility, but his skating could be improved.
On the downside he could make better decisions when passing the puck, his shooting
is better than passing, and use his body more. David has to put the intangibles together
first and will need to gain more experience. Is looking to crack the Havirov seniors roster
full-time the next season or he’ll try his luck in the CHL. Looks like a gamble pick.

Jan Kubista
Position: right wing
Team: HC Pojistovna Pardubice
Born: April, 12th, 1984
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 187 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Boston Bruins, 4th round, 130th overall

After the Bruins could get their hands surprisingly on Vladislav Evseev in the second round,
in the fourth they got another possible steal in Czech right winger Jan Kubista.
Kubista can beat the opposition with a mix of his
offensive instincts and also an intimidating physical presence. His downside is
that the jury is still out on his skating ability, else he has all the intangibles of a premiere
forward prospect. He posesses a very good size and is willing to use it when fighting for
the puck or punishing the opposition. The dilligent Kubista is a slick puckhandler
and has above-average shooting skills. He can also make accurate passes and is working on
his average defensive play and getting rid of the tendency to particularly disappear when playing
off the puck. Will stay with Pardubice for the next season, where he’ll try to crack the senior
lineup but more likely will perform in the Div I league. Jan is improving steadily and can
turn into a typical diamond in the rough very soon.

To read a detailed article on Jan Kubista Click Here

Jiri Cetkovsky
Position: center/right wing
Team: HC Continental Zlin
Born: November, 4th, 1983
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 194 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Calgary Flames, 5th round, 141st overall

Two seasons ago Jiri was just a Div I junior league player in the Czech Republic, now he is
a Calgary Flames draftee and a player who posesses the raw skill to develop into a coveted
power forward.
Jiri is a ferocious hitter and he uses his hulking frame very well when fighting along the boards.
A tenacious forward, Jiri isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty plus can play both center and
right wing. He also won’t hurt you defensively as he shows lots of defensive awareness in his
play. For a man of his size Cetkovsky skates well but has some reserves in his stickhandling
and could use his teammates more. At times he doesn’t seem to read the play terribly well,
that’s a thing for him to work on. Jiri’s stock raised drastically during the last months
and now he wants to prove that he can handle the North American game in the CHL. Will need
CHL and AHL seasoning, but has a chance to play in the NHL someday.

To read a detailed article on Jiri Cetkovsky Click here

Marian Havel
Position: center/left wing
Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Born: January, 26th, 1984
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 176 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Washington Capitals, 6th round, 179th overall

A year before Marian Havel was hoping into a selection in the first two rounds of the draft
but with his so-so rookie WHL season the first selection of the 2001 CHL Import Draft
slipped into round six. His teammate Robin Kovar has opted out of the draft but Havel decided
to take a chance and ended as the second Czech pick of the Washington Capitals.
An offensive sparkplug,
Marian is a very good skater who is able to reach top speed in a few strides. Havel is
blessed with tremendous vision and hockey sense, which enables him to make very smart passes.
But his biggest offensive asset is his booming slap shot, which he only has to unleash
more frequently. But he has made remarkable strides also in his defensive play and is
on the way to an all-round forward. Will continue his WHL career and is about three years
from a NHL chance away, now he looks like a boom or bust type of player.

To read a detailed article on Marian Havel Click here

Jaroslav Balastik
Team: HC Continental Zlin
Position: right wing
Born: November, 20th, 1979
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 210 lbs.
Shoots: L

NHL draft: Columbus Blue Jackets, 6th round, 184th overall

The first Czech overage pick of the draft. The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t hesitate to pick
the hard-nosed Zlin winger quite early in the draft, in the 6th round.
Jaroslav skates well for a player of his size and has a very good balance on his
skates. He also posesses soft hands which are able to control the puck with ease and make
outstanding decisions with it.
He takes advantage of his superb upper-body strength to cover the puck with his
body easily and keep the attacking defensemen off him. Jaroslav has a bright vision and a
nice portion of hockey sense which contributes to his strong decision making. Once on the
puck, he can shoot and pass as well and overall he is a complete forward who can skate, hit
and score. The Blue Jackets are quite high on him, but Jaroslav isn’t rushing to the NHL. He
wants to see the Zlin’s offer and after that he’ll decide whether to come over or not.

Ladislav Kouba
Position: left wing/right wing
Team: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Born: September, 10th, 1983
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 210 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Phoenix Coyotes, 7th round, 216th overall

After being passed over in last year’s NHL Entry Draft Ladislav Kouba could bounce back
with a very solid second season of WHL hockey. He saw more ice time than in his rookie campaign,
where he was used only sparingly, and showed that he is capable of handling heavy traffic
well and has no longer trouble with using his imposing frame to his advantage. After Martin
Podlesak the next Czech behemoth in the Coyotes’ system, Ladislav shows signs of developing
into a very good power forward. He has soft hands which
enable him to handle the puck smoothly. Once on a scoring chance, Ladislav doesn’t hesitate
to fire the puck at the net. His deft passing is also very useful, but Ladislav could further
develop his decision making. He plays very good on special units and isn’t afraid of going
in front of the net and look for rebounds. Ladislav is also very good in the defensive aspect
of the game. He’ll return for his third WHL campaign and even if he is no sure-fire NHLer,
there are some chances that after the time in the AHL he can crack the Coyotes roster.

Jaroslav Kracik
Position: center
Team: HC Keramika Plzen
Born: January, 18th, 1983
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 178 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Columbus Blue Jackets, 8th round, 231st overall

Jaroslav appeared on the radar screens of the NHL scouts after his stellar showings for
Plzen in the junior Extraleague this past season. He also saw playing time already in the
senior Extraleague and the Div II league for Klatovy. Jaroslav is a typical flyer of the
Blue Jackets, a hit-or-miss player who won’t force the GM to leave his position if he doesn’t
pan out. Kracik is a very solid skater with good straightaway speed and decent acceleration.
He has soft hands which enable him to handle the puck smoothly. As a bonus is there his
bright vision and solid portion of hockey sense which make Jaroslav a crafty playmaker
who is also capable of finding the net quite regularly. The biggest knock you may hear against
him is being soft and refuse to pay the physical price. He is also improving his defense which
is now quite solid. Jaroslav is a talented guy but if he is NHL material remains a question,
he needs more maturity and will play the next season probably in the Czech Republic and not the
CHL.

Petr Prucha
Position: center
Team: HC Pojistovna Pardubice
Born: September, 14th, 1982
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 161 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: New York Rangers, 8th round, 240th overall

Czech junior Extraleague goaltenders will breathe a sigh of relief when hearing about the
fact that the ultimate sniper Petr Prucha is going to graduate to the senior team or the
Div I league full-time. Prucha was the top goalscrorer of the Czech junior Extraleague this
past season and he ripped off also the Div I league during his short stint. The New York
Rangers fell in love with this diminutive waterbug, who also showed up at the 2002 WJC.
Prucha is a typical finesse forward with great skating and stickhandling ability and the only
thing he lacks is size. He has a great acceleration and is regularly terrorising the
opposition with his nifty moves and an ability to succeed in one-on-one situations. The jury
is out on the fact if he can translate his sniper instincts and elusive skating also to
the tougher North American game. Almost a non-factor defensively, Petr will have to get
rid of his one-dimensional label. Probably won’t be willing to play in the minors and will
return to Europe if he can’t crack the Rangers lineup. If he repeats this year’s success,
then the Rangers have found a gem.

Tomas Micka
Position: left wing
Team: HC Slavia Praha
Born: June, 7th, 1983
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 185 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Edmonton Oilers, 8th round, 245th overall

Not many people expected this grinding forward picked this year. Tomas Micka was completely
overlooked last year and this year he didn’t record any stellar season. The Oilers take
a chance on him, hoping that he can develop into a feisty, determinated third line forward.
Tomas won’t impress you with finesse skill, in opposite to many European players. He is
just an average skater and doesn’t make many nifty fakes and dekes with his stick. But he
definitely has a huge heart and gives everything to the team’s success. Micka is a dilligent
grinder who has a huge defensive awareness and brings a responsible two-way game to the
table. He has a huge frame and isn’t afraid of using it when fighting for the pucks along
the boards and in front of the net. Micka is extremly hard to get knocked off the puck
as he makes use of his superb strength. Tomas is a longshot prospect and don’t expect him to
show any huge numbers if he is able to reach the NHL level, which isn’t sure.

Josef Vavra
Team: HC Vsetin
Position: left wing
Born: March, 17th, 1984
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 175 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Ottawa Senators, 8th round, 246th overall

Even if Josef missed the Under-18 WJC thanks to a leg injury, the Senators still remebered
his strong showings from other tournaments and picked him as the second Czech player after
Jakub Klepis.
Vavra is an agile winger with lots of offensive flair. He is a swift skater and
he can make fast turns, just his balance could
be improved. But Josef accelerates well and he likes to fly on the ice. Vavra is a finesse
winger with a solid vision and hockey sense and is blessed with great hands.
Josef only needs to learn not to overhandle the puck and shoot it more often. He likes to
make smart passes and he is a very good passer but sometimes hesitates to shoot the puck.
Vavra tends to leave his position on the left wing and to fly on the ice, he has to avoid
these lapses. Now when he was picked in the NHL draft he’ll probably try his luck in the
CHL. Still he remains a longshot for the Sens.

To read a detailed article on Josef Vavra Click here

Martin Chabada
Position: left wing
Team: HC Sparta Praha
Born: June, 14th, 1977
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 203 lbs.
Shoots: R
NHL draft: New York Islanders, 8th round, 252nd overall

The new New York Islanders player was ranked already for the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, but got
overlooked, just like the following year. Now with his very solid season in the Czech
Extraleague for Sparta he became just the second and last Czech overage pick in this
year’s draft. Martin played his second season on the international stage but this year it was
just the Karjala Cup. Chabada is a pesky winger who isn’t afraid to mix it up and throw
his body around. He isn’t blessed with top-notch skill but is a dedicated grinder and a
tenacious forward. Chabada is a solid skater and stickhandler, nothing of it really perfect,
but Martin is able to contribute offensively well. He is an above-average playmaker and
a decent scorer who does his homework regularly and shows up every game for his team. Martin
won’t have a chance to crack the Islanders top two lines this fall and even more likely he’ll
report for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers if he’ll be signed to a contract.

Martin Cizek
Position: defenseman
Team: HC Slavia Praha
Born: May, 17th, 1984
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 185 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Buffalo Sabres, 9th round, 271st overall

Expected to be picked way higher, Martin Cizek had to wait till the final round to hear
his name called and it were the Buffalo Sabres who recognised that he can still be had.
Primarily a stay-at-home defenseman, Cizek takes care of his own end first but is also
adept at joining the rush. He is very responsible and does the little things well. Cizek is
good to be paired with a rusher, when he can show his huge defensive awareness. He consistently
makes safe outlet decisions when he avoids any risky plays and tries to keep
his game simple. Cizek shows remarkable poise moving the puck but could do that more often as
he seems still not fully grown into his huge potential. He is a fierce competitor and gives
everything to the team’s success. Martin is CHL bound and he’ll probably play two full seasons
of major junior hockey in North America before he may get a sniff with the Sabres. Can turn
out to be a steal for the Sabres, he has NHL potential.