It looks like it could be a solid draft year for the Czech Republic in 2014 with David Pastrňák and Jakub Vrána, two upper round candidates based in Sweden, and many more potential later round prospects playing either in Sweden, Canada or in their homeland. Thanks to a new rule implemented by the Czech Ice Hockey Association, prospects are also getting much more ice-time in the Extraliga than in recent years.
Unable to create many opportunities for young players, Czech youth hockey is slowly losing influence. The system has been collapsing, with the main problems being economics and training methods. It's no wonder that talented Czech players try their luck abroad, not just in Canada or the United States, but also in Sweden, a country that has recently produced loads of big-time NHL prospects.
The Hockey's Future Calder Trophy poll for November reflected the depth of the 2013-14 rookie class as 22 players received votes from members of the staff. This month's Top 10 was impacted by several early season call-ups who have emerged while a handful of players who opened the season with a bang but then cooled off are no longer in this month's Top 10 (actually eleven since there was a tie for the 10th spot).
He may sometimes feel like a fish out of water, but it’s a sensation that Radek Faksa has had plenty of experience with. But when that water’s frozen and he’s strapped on the blades, few OHL players look as natural — or at home — on the ice as the Dallas Stars’ Czech Republic-born first rounder.
The 2013-14 Czech Extraliga regular season has already begun, with the first game being played on September 11th. The participation of junior-aged hockey players in the league will now be higher than ever. In hopes of lifting Czech draft and Under-20 WJC success and getting the country back to placing among the world's elite, the Czech Ice Hockey Association has introduced a rule that requires every team to dress at least three players born in 1991 or later, and one born in 1994 or later. That means that fans will be able to watch many Czech prospects, including those eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.