Ales Stezka

Hometown:

Liberec Czech Republic

Currently Playing In:

Junior

Birthday:

1997-01-06

Position:

G

Eligible for draft:

2015

Catches:

Left

Drafted:

2015

Height:

6-3

Acquired:

4th round (111th overall), 2015

Weight:

179 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream
History

2011-12: Ales Stezka played 16 games for the Bili Tygri Liberec U16 team in the Czech Republic. Sharing the goaltending duties with Lukas Hosnedl on the league’s top team, he was 15-1 with 2 shutouts and had a 1.70 goals against and .919 save percentage.

2012-13: Stezka made one appearance in a U20 game for Bili Tygri Liberec, splitting the season between the club’s U18 and U16 squads. He allowed 7 goals on 35 shots in his only start for the Liberec U20 team. Stezka was 16-9 with a 2.10 goals against and .890 save percentage in 35 regular season games for the Bili Tygri U18 squad and was 2-1 with a 1.90 goals against and .911 save percentage in three playoff games. He was 24-4 with 4 shutouts and had a 1.83 goals against and .930 save percentage in 28 games during the U16 regular season and was 2-3 with 1 shutout in five playoff games, posting a 2.57 goals against and .924 save percentage.

2013-14: Stezka played two games for the Bili Tygri U20 team and had the top save percentage in Czech U18 hockey playing for Bili Tygri Liberec’s league championship squad. He played for the Czech U17 team in the 2014 World Hockey Challenge. Stezka was 1-1 with a 0.67 goals against and .974 save percentage in two U20 games. He was 18-6 with 8 shutouts and had a 1.69 goals against and .948 save percentage in 24 regular season games at the U18 level. Stezka was 5-0 in the playoffs for Bili Tygri, posting a 1.80 goals against and .942 save percentage. In eleven games for the Czech U17 team, including two games at the WHC, he was 4-7 with 1 shutout and had a 2.81 goals against and .882 save percentage.

2014-15: Stezka skated for the silver medal-winning Czech Republic U18 team in the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August before returning to Bili Tygri — skating in 40 regular season games and six playoff contests for the club’s U20 team — and played for the Czech Republic U18 team in the 2015 World Juniors. He was 21-19 with 3 shutouts and had a 2.77 goals against and .907 save percentage during the U20 regular season. Stezka was 4-2 and had a 1.98 goals against and .929 save percentage in six playoff games. He was 5-2 with 2 shutouts and had a 1.42 goals against and .948 save percentage in seven games for the Liberec U18 team. Stezka was 2-4 with a 2.42 goals against and .920 save percentage in six games for the Czech U18 team. The Czech Republic finished sixth at the 2015 WJC, falling 7-2 to the USA in the quarterfinals. Stezka was selected by Sioux Falls in the 11th round (172nd overall) in the USHL Entry Draft. He was ranked fourth amongst international goalies in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Minnesota in the fourth round (111th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

2015-16: Stezka played in 19 games for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede as a backup to starter Stefanos Lekkas in his first season in North America. He appeared in one game for the Czech Republic U20 team at the 2016 World Junior Championship. Stezka was 6-10-1 with one shutout and had a 3.32 goals against and .893 save percentage with the Stampede. He stopped 25 of 30 shots in two periods in his only appearance for the Czech Republic at the WJC. 

Talent Analysis

Not challenged much this winter, Stezka dominated the Czech U20 league with his cool, collected play and ability to pretty much stop the first shot and almost all stoppable shots. He has no experience in the pro ranks yet, but the 6’3” goaltender did put on a nice showing at the U18 World Championship. It is hard to determine at this point what is best about his game, because he played for a dominating U20 team where he wasn’t challenged as much as you’d like to see for a top goaltender of this age. All areas will have to be worked on, but Stezka is athletic enough and reads oncoming attacks well.

Future

Stezka had a challenging first season in North America in 2015-16. Splitting the goaltending duty with University of Vermont recruit Stefanos Lekkas with Sioux City in the USHL at the beginning of the year, he struggled and saw limited time later in the year. With Lekkas joining the Catamounts in 2016-17 he will have an opportunity to start for the Stampede but could also return to Europe. Stezka is also eligible to play for the Czech Republic in the World Juniors again next year. As with many young goaltenders Stezka is a work in progress at this stage of his development.

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