“It’s putting my 2 best defensemen together,” is how Coach John Paddock responded when asked about teaming the rookie with senior defenseman Terry Virtue.
Tomas played junior hockey from ’95 to ’98 in the Czech-Jr. League for Slavia Praha and last year for Cape Breton in the QMJHL. This year was his last year of junior eligibility and he said when asked about the Czech Junior Team winning the World Championship, “I almost went with the nationals. The National Team Organization decided to take only 5 players playing in North America, instead of 8. So, they dropped me.”
Coach Paddock assessed his rookie defenseman, “Well, Tomas Kloucek is a really, really good player and a really good prospect. He still could be playing junior hockey. He’s only going to be 20 next year. He’s a really solid defenseman and he kills penalties. His best assets are his skating, his strength, and his heart. He’s going to be a number 4 defenseman in the NHL sometime soon.”
Linemate Terry Virtue said, “Tomas is a big, strong player that skates well. He’s hard to knock down. He seems to be getting his feet wet on the ice more. He’s really coming along well. I think what he has to do now, is skate with the puck more and see the ice better. That’s going to come with time and experience. He’s going to get a lot better.”
The Wolf Pack’s new addition realizes that “there is always something to work on. I need to handle the puck better because here you clear the puck more.”
Even though Tomas Kloucek may be a youthful rookie, his skills have put him up with the head of the Pack. He seems to have adjusted to this level so quickly that it is clear that you had better look at him now, because it won’t be long before we’ll have to go to the NHL in order to see him again.
Remember Keep Your Stick On The Ice And Your Eye On Your Goal!!!
Bio: Tomas Kloucek
Position: Defense Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 205 lbs.
Born: Prague, Czechoslovakia March 7, 1980
Draft: N.Y. Rangers’ 6TH Choice (131st overall) in the 1998 Entry Draft
Rich Herles covers AHL Rookie Prospects for Hockey’s Future web site and Just Hockey magazine & web site Contact him at [email protected]