The 2006 NHL Entry Draft was a poor one for Slovakia. Only four Slovakians were selected, the best being Tomas Marcinko, taken 115th overall by the New York Islanders. Only two of the four played last season in Slovakia, the other two in Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Of course, even from such a small, unheralded group a star could emerge. When we look back at the 90´s, we can see a lot of examples. For instance Peter Bondra, 1990, 8th round, 188th overall, or Pavol Demitra, 1993, 9th round, 227th overall, or most recently Marek Svatos, 2001, 7th round, 227th overall.
What we can say is that this setback does show the real picture of Slovakian training facilities. The freshly reelected president of Slovakian hockey Juraj Siroky recognized such at his first press conference, saying that the No. 1 priority is the youth.
Below is a closer look at the drafted players.
Tomas Marcinko, C — HC Kosice (SVK)
Drafted: Round 4, 115th overall, NY Islanders
6´4 187 lbs
Born: April 11, 1988 in Poprad
CSS rating: 26th among European skaters
Marcinko is a very strong and talented skater with good defensive abilities and a hard shot. He is fast and can give hard bodychecks. Last season he played 23 games for the HC Kosice senior squad. He scored only two goals, but played well defensively. He also played nine games in the second league, with eight points. The rest of the season was spent with HC Kosice Jr., scoring 28 points in 38 games.
This season the HC Kosice’s head coach counted Marcinko as the second or third line center, but the center prefered to play in Canadian junior hockey. For his size and strength, it might be a good decision.
Tomas Zaborsky, F — Dukla Trencin (SVK)
Drafted: Round 5, 137th overall, NY Rangers
November 4, 1987 in Banska Bystrica
CSS rating: 85th among European skaters
Last season Zaborksy finished with 76 points, 49 of them goals (10 of them in the seven playoff games), and a +74 in 49 games. Good numbers, but accomplished only in the Slovak junior league. He also played four games for the senior squad, and five in the second league, but without much success (just one point in the second league). The potential to be a great goalscorer is here, he had a quick hands and a good movement. But he must give better effort.
Juraj Simek, RW — Kloten Flyers (SUI)
Drafted: Round 6, 167th overall, Vancouver Canucks
September 29, 1987 in Presov
CSS rating: 19th among European skaters
Juraj Simek played eight games for the Kloten Flyers, a team in the Swiss national league, scoring just one point. In the Swiss junior league, he scored 63 points in 42 games. Simek is a strong skater, with excellent puckhandling. On the other side, he collected a very high 196 PIM.
Lukas Zeliska, C — HC Ocelarni Trinec (CZE)
Drafted: Round 7, 204th overall, NY Rangers
January 8, 1988 in Martin
CSS rating: 40th among European skaters
Zeliska is another player who played outside his home country. He played virtually the entire season for the junior squad, with 12 goals and four assists in 36 games. In only one match did he show his skills at the senior level. He also played for Slovakia in the World Junior Championship. Zeliska is in essence a goal scorer.
Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.