Stefan Ruzicka starred for silver medalist Slovakia at the under-18 WJC (5 G, 3 A) and is considered one of the fastest rising young offensive talents in his native country. His season totals for Division One club Nitra (the top squad at that level) were good for a player of his age, although the talent level in Slovak hockey drops off considerably below their Extraliga. As with most young players, consistency is an issue with Ruzicka.
Ruzicka was recently selected by Owen Sound in the OHL draft. It looks like he may begin making the transition to the North American playing style and culture right away.
When Ruzicka was "on" during his two-year stint with the Owen Sound Attack, he had few offensive peers in the OHL. In 124 total games, he tallied an extremely well-balanced 71 goals and 71 assists for 142 points, to go along with 124 PIMs.
2005-06: Ruzicka is a player who seems to have all the tools necessary to become an offensive weapon in the NHL, however, many question marks remain about his level of commitment, consistency and willingness to play defense. As a rookie with the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), there were times when he clearly looked like the most talented player on the ice. But there were also far too many stretches where he was practically invisible and was simply a non-factor. In his defense, the Slovakian import did not have the luxury of playing with gifted offensive players, and was seemingly hampered by a variety of nagging injuries throughout the year. He did manage to finish third on the team, with a mere 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 73 games.
2006-07: Played with the Phantoms, and went on to receive valuable experience and a strong look from the Flyers during the stretch run. He just appeared to be getting settled in with the Phantoms (for whom he tallied 23 points in 29 games) when he was recalled to finish the season with the Flyers in late February. After a slow start, he picked up his play with the big club, registering 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 37 total games.
2007-08: This marked season number three for Ruzicka and the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL). 59 games saw the forward net 19 goals and 31 assists for 50 points, and he grabbed an additional 13 points (4g+9a) in 12 postseason games with the club. Ruzicka was brought up to the Flyers for 14 regular season games, where he recorded one goal and three assists.
Described as a player in the Andrei Kovalenko physical mold, Ruzicka has a low center of gravity and is very hard to take off the puck. He doesn't possess blazing speed, but as long as he keeps his feet moving, he compensates with a powerful stride that gets him from point a to point b quickly. While he is adequate defensively, Ruzicka is first and foremost an offensive talent with soft hands and creativity. He is far from a can't-miss prospect but he reportedly is serious about working on his game and has a high ceiling.
Ruzicka has the tools and potential to be a scoring winger in the NHL. He is playing overseas this year, but the Flyers retain his rights.