QMJHL: Mooseheads look to Steber to fill defensive vacancy

By Chris McCluskey

For the past three seasons Milan Jurcina has arguably been the Halifax
Mooseheads most consistently effective blueliner. While his forté was his
imposing defensive style, the 6’5″ 220lb. Jurcina also possessed a big
league shot which easily penetrated traffic in front opposing nets. Unarguably a fan
favorite, the two time Slovakian Under-20 Junior Team member is
considered to be perhaps the biggest steal of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft,
selected with the Boston Bruins 241st overall choice well into the eighth round. Jurcina leaves the Mooseheads to start playing under a Boston contract in the fall.

So when Halifax Mooseheads General Manager Marcel Patenaude spoke to the
media several days ago regarding today’s Canadian Hockey League European Import Draft,
fans were comforted that while losing one of their best talents they
would be getting someone who “wants to come to Halifax, and that’s
the only place.” With that, it was concluded that if this player
had the pull to choose his destination, that he would be a big name.

Rumors flew as Haligonians were convinced they would see QMJHL Rookie of the
Year Petr Vrana’s best buddy Vojtech Polak, a Dallas Stars draft choice,
in a Mooseheads uniform. There was also considerable talk regarding
Peter Pohl, or perhaps even Tim Ramholt who went to the archrival
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. So when the name Jan Steber flashed across their computer screens, confusion entered their minds as they asked ourselves, “Jan who?”

A glimpse into the young
2004 NHL Entry Draft eligible prospect: Steber, a winger, played
this past season for the Trinec Juniors in his native Czech Republic.
He is a left handed shot and has represented his country in the Under-18
category on two occasions, once with Vrana. From reading his scouting
reports, at 6’3″ 200 lbs he appears to be a slightly smaller version of Acadie-Bathurst
Titan overager Janis Sprukts. Described as hard working, at his size he should be able
to compliment the diminutive Vrana.

Patenaude went on to say about Steber, “he is the player
that we wanted and has agreed to attend the Mooseheads training camp next month.”
Sources close to Peter Pohl say Steber’s Czech counterpart expressed interest to
three teams in the QMJHL; Gatineau, Québec City, and Halifax. So if Patenaude did
indeed go into the draft with Jan Steber listed as no. 1 on his draft list, Halifax fans
certainly have no quandries in judging the talent of this perhaps overlooked
budding player’s skills.