NHL Draft Preview – Overage Slovak Players

By Daniel Kysel

The last draft proved that overage players are a much better investment for new teams than 18-year old unknown youngsters. In total 31 overage players were selected last year. Fourteen of them skated on NHL rinks last season. Eight found regular spots on their teams (Cechmanek, Sekeras, Kultanen, Visnovsky, Nummelin, Kharitonov, Simicek and Sushinsky (before his outgoing to Russia)). The others traveled between first and farm teams (Ronnqvist, Wallin, Bartos, Von Arx, Kolarik and Lilja). All of them were 24+ years old. Pure accident? I don’t think so. Such players have a lot of experience from top European leagues, international tournaments, world championships, Olympic games etc. Younger players (I mean 21-24 year old) need time to develop for the NHL level but I believe that some of them could play in NHL right now e.g. Tellqvist, Richter.

The European leagues – Russian, Slovak, Swiss, German and especially Czech, Finnish and Swedish offer a lot of skilled, experienced players. Mark Schwartz presented in his excellent article “Instant help and the NHL draft” overage players. I cannot and don’t want to compete with him however I want to present my view as well. Of course I don’t know all Euro-leagues in detail but I can mention other ones who were not mentioned by him e.g. Czech players Dusan Salficky (G, 1972, Plzen) & Viktor Ujcik (F, 1972, Slavia). However my intention is to write about Slovaks, so let’s see their names:

Peter Pucher (C, 12/08/1974, 6'1" 207, Znojmo - Czech Extraliga)
Regular season 52 GP22G 34A 56Pts+3132 PIM
World championship7GP3G 2A 5Pts+52PIM
You can read his very good characteristic in article of Mark Schwartz.
However Peter is center, not winger and is able to play defensive role.
In my opinion he can skate in checking line as well. He is very
experienced player (5 world championships and around 100 games on
national team).

Robert Tomik (RW, 12/12/1976, 5'10" 175, K.Vary - Czech Extraliga)
Regular season52GP25G 27A 52Pts+2116PIM
A shocker of the season. Fifth leading scorer while was playing on the
worst team of the league. Fantastic skater with killing speed and
acceleration. Soft hands and very good puckhandler. Typical offensive
forward but should work with the same effort on both ends. Robert is
very gifted player but was omitted in past years.

Other prospects:

Martin Kulha (C/W, 07/08/1976, 6'2" 193 lb, Slovan/Poprad)
hard working forward, able to score

Tomas Nadasdi (D, 14/05/1980, 6'0" 189 lb, Kosice)
very gifted player

Jan Tabacek (D, 07/04/1980, 6'0" 170 lb, Martin)
amazing skater, D-man with offensive potential

Ivan Majesky (D, 02/09/1976, 6'5" 227, Ilves Tampere - Finnish League)
big, strong blueliner

Lubomir Sabol (C, 11/04/1980, 5'11" 182, Kosice)
impressive rookie season

Short characteristics and stats of Kulha, Nadasdi, Tabacek & Sabol can be found in my previous article “Slovak Extraliga review”.

Old guns:

Jan Pardavy (RW, 08/09/1971, 5'11" 195, Vsetin - Czech Extraliga)
Regular season 46GP12G 25A 37PtsN/A46PIM
Playoffs14GP 10G 2A 12 PtsN/A14PIM
World championship7GP0G 1A 1Pts-210PIM
Solid regular season but amazing playoffs. Pardavy is natural scorer. He
and Dopita created the best duo of the league. He is natural scorer, has
good acceleration and is a typical late bloomer. But beware him. If he
does not play on PP and 18-20 minutes at least he is frustrated and is
useless player on the team (e.g. world championship).

Richard Sechny (C, 19/10/1971, 6'5" 230 lb, Zvolen)
Big man, excellent size. No doubt Richard was the best center as well as
player of Extraliga. Impressive stats in regular season (70 points in 53
games) and leading scorer in the playoffs (19 points in 10 games). In my
previous article I have mentioned he would not play in America. However
after several discussions with the Tampa and Boston scouts he changed
the opinion and is ready to try the NHL hockey. He can succeed on NHL
but needs “European” type wingers.

Jozef Dano (F, 28/12/1968, 6'0" 192, Trinec - Czech Extraliga)
Regular season 41GP8G 12A 20PtsN/A
Jozef was the best Slovak player skating in Europe 3-4 years ago but now
is behind his zenith. He struggled with injuries in last two seasons.
Though he was contacted by LA and Minnesota I don’t think his is the NHL
prospect yet.