The Czech Republic could be well-represented at the 2015 NHL Draft.
Pavel Zacha, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-shot center from Brno, is having a successful first season in North America with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. Some feel Zacha could be the first top-10 pick from the Czech Republic since Jakub Voracek went No. 7 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007; Voracek currently stars for the Philadelphia Flyers.
|Lukas Jasek (Courtesy: Czech Ice Hockey Association)
NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb has identified three exceptional Czech forwards playing at home who could play for their country at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto in January and start gaining popularity in the scouting community.
"There's a good representation of the new talent wave from the Czech Republic," Stubb said.
Here's a look at each player:
Michael Spacek: The 5-11, 187-pound center/right wing is a regular on Pardubice in the top Czech league and has two goals and seven points in 17 games. He's considered an A-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list.
Stubb likes to refer to Spacek as the "classical Czech" player.
"He's a hard worker with a good skill set, makes good decisions, is a smart passer and playmaker," Stubb said. "He's quick and mobile, an all-around player with a nose for the net. He is a bit smallish and needs more physical strength."
David Kase: An A-rated skater on Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, Kase has five goals, 10 points and a plus-8 rating in 20 games for Chomutov in the Czech second division. The 5-11, 169-pound center is hard to hit because of his quickness and balance.
"He's another smallish Czech forward with a lot of talent, including mobility, first-step quickness, excellent vision and puckhandling," Stubb said. "He's a player with great offensive instincts. He makes things happen with his quick moves in the offensive zone. He's playing a regular role on a senior level and that's helped him a lot."
Lukas Jasek: A regular for Trinec in the top Czech league, the 5-11, 165-pound right wing has one assist in 12 games this season. Stubb feels Jasek compensates for his lack of physical strength with a great attitude and tremendous work ethic. He has great mobility on this skates.
"Lukas is a dynamic, smart and hard-working two-way forward," Stubb said. "He's got very good skills, smooth hands and is very good with the puck."