Slovak 2007 draft-eligible prospects

By Andrej Cicman

Below is a look at the top prospects in the Slovak league or in the Slovak Junior league who are eligible for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. There are very few potential NHL players this year. No one from the below listed players is a truly important player for their teams. This fact was also demonstrated in this year‘s Slovak World Junior Championship roster — no one newly eligible in 2007 was selected to the roster.

Juraj Mikus, D
Team: Dukla Trencin Sr./Jr.
Birthdate: November 11th, 1988
Height: 6’3
Weight: 180 lbs.
Shoots: L

Juraj Mikus is coming from the famous Dukla Trencin, where superstars like Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Andrej Meszaros began their profesional careers. A tall player, Mikus must take on some pounds. He is reliable in his zone, uses his size and long reach well. Mikus tends to be careless with the puck at times and those mistakes lead to occasional turnovers. He already played 15 games (no points and was even) for the senior team, in which it is really tough to secure a roster spot. In the junior league he collected 4 goals, 11 assists, 44 PIM and is +20.   

Ondrej Rusnák, C
Team: HC Slovan Bratislava Jr.
Birthdate: February 25th, 1989
Height: 6’2
Weight: 169 lbs.
Shoots: L

Rusnák spent the entire season in the junior league and it looks like this season will be similar.  Rusnak has collected 7 goals and 13 assists in 28 matches. He possesses solid stickhandling skills and can maneuver through traffic quite well. Rusnak could use more polishing of his shooting skills, as his shots aren’t very hard. Another disadvatage for now is his weight. At 6’2 he weighs only 169 lbs.

Zdenko Kotvan, G
Team: HK 36 Skalica Sr./Jr.
Birthdate: August 12th, 1989
Height: 5’11
Weight: 189 lbs.
Catches: L

Young and promising goaltender Zdenko Kotvan is playing now for the HK 36 Skalica. He already played in one match for the senior team, but it was only for 37 minutes. In that match he stopped 26 shots and allowed five, a not so great senior debut. In the junior league he has a .924 save percentage and 2.22 GAA, in the top 5 of the league statistics. Kotvan is talented, has good reflexes, but he must have more self confidence to be a real team asset.

Tomáš Hiadlovsky, G
Team: Dukla Trencin Sr./Jr.
Birthdate: December 15th, 1988
Height: 5’11
Weight: 163 lbs.
Catches: L

Another skilled goaltender from Dukla Trencin, Hiadlovsky is the best goalie in the Slovak junior league. He has an amazing GAA of 1.67 and save percentage of .934. Hiadlovksy played in four matches for Team Slovakia in the WJC 18 in 2006. With a GAA of 2.54 and save percentage of .919 in the tourney, he belongs to the best Slovak players. This year he already played six games for the Dukla Trencins farm team, but this isn‘t a performance for which he should be happy: 3.48 GAA and save percentage of .904.

Milan Kytnar, LW
Team: HC Topolcany
Birthdate: May 19th, 1989
Height: 6’0
Weight: 167 lbs.
Shoots: L

Kytnar uses his good vision to make timely decisions with the puck, but has also considerable finishing skills. He is a smooth puckhandler and can maneuver in traffic. An agile forward, Kytnar possesses sharp skills and good speed. He is a solid part of the HC Topolcany’s senior squad. He played 18 matches in the Slovak second league, in which he collected three goals, seven assists, 16 PIM and has a +3.

Martin Dulak, D
Team: HK VTJ Spisska Nova Ves Sr./Jr.
Birthdate: September 21th, 1988
Height: 6’0
Weight: 183 lbs.
Shoots: L

Martin Dulak is a gifted defensive-minded defenseman who can also support the offense. He is possesed with good positioning and vision. Last year he played almost the whole season between the seniors in the Slovak second league and also represented Slovakia in the U18 championships. This season he played mostly in the Slovak junior league. In 31 matches he collected six goals, six assists, 64 PIM and he has a good +21. In the senior squad he played only six matches (with no points and a +1), but this year it is really tough for the juniors to be a regular player in the best second league for this team. 

Martin Baca, D
Team: MHK LIPA Liptovsky Mikulas Sr./Jr.
Birthdate: February 2th, 1989
Height: 6’2
Weight: 202 lbs.
Shoots: L

Baca is a heavy defenseman from Litovsky Mikulas. He possesses a solid frame, but doesn’t use it to his advantage often. Once he develops his aggressiveness enough, then he can possibly think of a career in North America. This year he played eight games for the Litovsky Mikulas’s senior squad and there he collected only a -4. Also in the junior league he isn’t among the most productive players. In 32 matches he collected three goals, seven assists, 52 PIM and he has a -1.

Jozef Molnar, F
Team: HC Kosice Jr.
Birthdate: April 8th, 1989
Height: 5‘11
Weight: 169 lbs.
Shoots: R

Jozef Molnar is a fast skater. He uses his good shooting skills for nice goals, but he must improve his accuracy. He has played the whole season for the junior squad. With 10 goals and 10 assists is seventh in scoring on the team, but he has played only 26 matches.

Michal Kozak, D
Team: HC Kosice Jr.
Birthdate: January 27th, 1989
Height: 6’1
Weight: 187 lbs.
Shoots: L

Kozak is a hard-working defenseman, a reliable player who does his job well. In his second year on HC Kosice’s junior squad he is the top defenseman. Kozak is very reliable on his place, with good positioning. A hard-hitting prospect, he can also support the offense. He has already collected four goals (three of them game winners), nine assists, 63 PIM and is +12.

Matej Cesik, C
Team: HC 05 Banská Bystrica Sr.
Birthdate: June 26th, 1988
Height: 6’2
Weight: 176 lbs.
Shoots: L

Talented Matej Cesik doesn’t get as much attention as some of his 2006 draft peers, but this time he could be better on this. Last year he was on the CSS list at No. 135, but no NHL team showed any interest for this player. None of the Candian junior teams showed interest either and that‘s maybe a mistake, because he has the talent. He fires an accurate wrist shot with a fast release and possesses adequate in-close finishing skills and a scoring touch. His performance in the junior squad secured him a spot in the senior squad in the First Slovak League. And he is doing pretty well there. He is playing as a center in the first line and his statistics are rising. In 31 matches for junior team he collected 26 goals and 20 assists. And also his senior performance isn‘t so bad. In 12 matches for the team, where NHL players like Michal Handzus, Vladimir Orszagh and Richard Zednik also began their professional careers, Cesik collected five goals, five assists, only 2 PIM and is +10.  

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