There typically isn’t much pressure on the seventh to last selection in National Hockey League Entry Draft, to perform at the professional level.
trying to tell that to Columbus Blue Jacket prospect Andrej Nedorost.
In their first ever draft in 2000,
Columbus Blue Jackets selected the notable Rostislav Klesla, but other 2000 draftees haven’t turned out to be notable. Andrej Nedorost is making a strong bid to
organization who selected him with the 286th
overall pick that the draft was not wasted after Klesla.
Andrej, who was 20 at the time of the 2000 NHL
was playing with the Essen Mosquitoes of Germany’s Elite League.
native of Trenien, Slovakia, moved from Slovakia at the tender age of
play in the Deutsche Eishockey League in Germany, in an attempt to
career. It was while playing with Essen that he caught the eye of
Overlooked in both the 1998 and 1999 Entry Drafts,
of scenery allowed Nedorost to further round out his game in Germany,
with Essen Jr., the top team in Germany’s junior league. Despite not
the strong numbers in the German junior league that he routinely
while playing in Slovakia, it wasn’t long before Nedorost was invited
with the big club. His shot with the Essen Mosquitoes, who happened to
last place team in the Deutsche Eishockey League at the time, allowed
more exposure to scouts than he’d seen previously in his career.
Taking a chance on a slightly older draftee,
Doug MacLean trusted European Scout Kjell Larson in his decision to
20-year-old prospect. Dismissed after the draft as just another ninth
selection, Nedorost packed his bags once again, all for the sake of
His next move saw him leave Germany, after an
relegation-round run with Essen, a run that saw him match his seasonal
of six points in 55 games, doing so in only eleven games. The next move
Nedorost had him heading closer to home, as Andrej signed to play with
of the Czech league.
Used sparingly, Nedorost, now property of the
Jackets, had much more of an offensive impact with HC Plenz, recording
points, ten of which were goals, while playing in 33 games, only
just over 60% of the club’s games. Injuries plagued Nedorost in his
HC Plenz, limiting the young forward’s progress. Despite this though,
clear Nedorost had improved. What was clearly improving in Nedorost,
was his ability to play at both ends of the ice. Nedorost, once a
one-dimensional offensive threat, was now developing into more of a
forward, and was ready to make his way over to North America, and give
across the pond a go.
There are significant differences between European
American hockey, and undoubtedly Andrej Nedorost was one to find that
Playing his first season with the Columbus Blue Jackets American
affiliate Syracuse Crunch, Nedorost was introduced to a smaller rink,
hitting, and an entirely new culture.
Just like the season before, lack of in-game
the development of Nedorost. In his first season with the Syracuse
Nedorost was able to dress for less than half of the club’s games,
only 37 contests. As Nedorost was eased into an offensive role with the
Syracuse Crunch, injuries again discouraged the Slovak, whose
abilities allowed him to register 13 assists on the season, and potted
Despite his mediocre season with the Syracuse
Nedorost was still able to enjoy an offering from the Columbus Blue
2001-02. Nedorost, a late season call-up for the Jackets, managed to
taste for the National Hockey League by participating, in a limited
seven NHL contests. Again, displaying his playmaking ability, Nedorost
two assists in seven contests, including one in his first NHL game.
The goal of playing in the National Hockey
League remained with Nederost, especially after his late season call-up. Heading
for the 2002-03 season, Nedorost looked primed to take over a spot on
the bottom two lines for Columbus, if not one on the second scoring
the Blue Jackets. Despite having a very strong camp, Andrej was
the Syracuse Crunch two days before the start of the 2002-03 campaign.
opportunity to develop into one of the Crunch’s most dangerous
threats. Not only did Nedorost improve upon his offensive abilities,
his on-ice vision and playmaking skills, but he also developed
key in his game, an aspect that will help him make the jump to the next
Recording 85 minutes in penalties with the
an element of grit was added to Nedorost’s game, which had
missing thus far. His newfound grit was as
realization of what it takes to get to the next level, as it was a
adjustment to the North American style of play. Nedorost, widely
referred to as
the most dynamic player on the Crunch, was now working the play down
grinding in the corners.
Now, with two seasons of American Hockey League
and a handful of National Hockey League games under his belt, more is
expected of the Slovakian. Nedorost is one of few battling for a
on the Columbus Blue Jackets roster. His game is not perfect. While his
and physical play has improved, it may still be a notch or two below
expected level of a player skating a regular shift. Despite this,
Nedorost has displayed his offensive gift, one so remarkable that it
him in a Columbus Blue Jackets jersey more often than not for the
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