Offseason moves of Czech junior national team players

By Robert Neuhauser

Junior and midget-aged players changing teams in the Czech Republic isn’t as common as it is in North America. Most players tend to
play their youth days in the systems of their respective teams, with the exception of the Extraleague teams boosting their prospect pipelines and usually adding the most talented players from their nearby region. Only a low number of players experience
playing for a number of teams before reaching senior age. Here’s a look at three junior national team players who switched their Czech squads
during the summer of 2004.

1987 born

Petr Skatula
Position: left wing
Birthdate: February 3rd, 1987
Birthplace: Havirov, Czech Republic
Height: 6’0
Weight: 172 lbs.
Shoots: L
Move: HC Havirov Panthers Jr. to HC Ocelari Trinec Jr.

The diligent forward Petr Skatula joined the prospect pipeline of the
Trinec team after performing for the Havirov juniors last season.
Skatula burst onto the international stage during the previous season and this move helps him to hone his skills in the system of one of the
better Czech developmental systems and also possibly see some practice time with the senior team and learn from the experienced Extraleague
vets.

Petr Skatula is a decent skater with quick acceleration, but doesn’t
have the extra gear which would help him to outskate the opposition more
effortlessly. He displays a solid agility to go along with only
adequate balance on his skates. Skatula is a player who makes up for his average skill set with his strong attitude and determination. He doesn’t
tend to take shifts off and fills the role of the depth player
well. Skatula returns to his own zone to help out the defense and is willing to dig for the pucks in the corners. He possesses only average hands and isn’t making many nifty stick moves. He tends to use his wrist or snap shot more than the slap shot, which needs to upgrade on
accuracy. His frame doesn’t enable him to emerge as a physical menace, but Skatula isn’t shy of sticking his nose into traffic. Petr Skatula is only a marginal prospect for the NHL draft, but could eventually make his living with playing in Europe.

1988 borns

Jiri Suchy
Position: defenseman
Birthdate: January 3rd, 1988
Birthplace: Opava, Czech Republic
Height: 5’10
Weight: 182 lbs.
Shoots: L
Move: HC Ceske Budejovice Jr. to HC Rabat Kladno Jr.

The journeyman defenseman continued his trend of changing a team every
year and joined his fourth team in four seasons. The native of Opava
already performed for the midget teams of Opava, Trinec and Ceske
Budejovice, where he had a cup of coffee in the junior Extraleague last year.
He joins the well-stocked junior team of Kladno, the junior Extraleague
defending champions. The Kladno juniors had an influx of youth this
offseason and will be relying heavily on the performance of less
experienced, but skilled players.

Jiri Suchy is a well-balanced skater who takes advantage of his
above-average lower-body strength. He is tough to get knocked off the skates
and possesses a solid straightaway speed and acceleration. Suchy has a
decent lateral movement, but still could improve in this asset. Suchy is an offensive-minded rearguard who likes to support the offense and jump into the play. He is a crafty puckhandler with soft hands for a
blueliner. He makes accurate tape-on-tape passes even on a long distance, but is prone to the odd bad decision with the puck, which leads to turnovers. He fires hard blasts from the point, but accuracy is still an issue
here. Suchy is blessed with a stocky frame and he isn’t afraid of using
it along the boards. He could clear the crease with a bigger
determination, though. Suchy’s defensive zone coverage needs more improving, too,
as he tends to think about offense sometimes too much.

Radek Meidl
Position: center
Birthdate: November 25th, 1988
Birthplace: Prostejov, Czech Republic
Height: 5’11
Weight: 172 lbs.
Shoots: L
Move: HC Minor Prerov midgets to HC Sparta Praha midgets

The younger brother of Nashville Predators prospect Vaclav Meidl is
moving to the country’s capital after playing the 2003-04 season as an
alternate captain of the Prerov midget team. Meidl joins his third team
in three years, the native of Prostejov, Czech Republic, played nine
years for his hometown squad before moving to Prerov for one year. The
move to Sparta is arranged by his agent Jaromir Henys, who has a tendency
to provide the most talented players represented by him with an
opportunity to play in the system of Sparta Praha.

Radek Meidl is a fairly good skater with strong agility and footspeed.
He could use a more effective stride, which would enable him to hit top
speed quicker and outskate the opposition more effortlessly. He also
needs to further upgrade his balance and gain more lower-body strength.
Meidl is an above-average puckhandler who can dangle the puck through
traffic, but could use more vision and hockey sense in his play. He
unleashes an accurate wrist shot with a quick release, but needs to use his
slap shot to a bigger extent. Meidl doesn’t back down from the physical
play and sticks his nose into tight corner battles. He is raw in his
defensive awareness, Meidl returns to his own zone but has to work on his positioning and marking of his man. Meidl could use better faceoff
skills, he is only average in this asset.