It’s been a whirlwind three weeks for Radek Faksa. The 18-year-old was drafted in the first round by the Dallas Stars back on June 22, went back home to Czech Republic, touched down in Dallas this week for Stars development camp, and now he has his first NHL contract.
The Stars announced Friday that they had signed Faksa, the 13th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level deal.
“It’s awesome that I can have a contract so soon,” Faksa said shortly before taking the ice in Frisco Friday afternoon.
Although Faksa has an NHL contract, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk indicated there is no plan to rush the Czech center’s development.
“It’s hard to say in today’s NHL how these kids do when they come in,” Nieuwendyk said. “I think with the changes that we’ve made with our hockey club, there is no urgency to rush him in any manner nor would it be right for the kid. He’ll participate in this camp, hopefully there will be a training camp in the fall and we’ll just see how he progresses.
Faksa, a 6-3, 202-pound center, spent last season with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, playing 62 games and leading all OHL rookies in goals (29), assists (37) and points (66).
All the recent travel has been hard on Faksa, but he has been looking forward to the development camp in Frisco. It’s the first time he has been on the ice since Kitchener lost in the OHL’s Western Conference Finals.
“It’s been two months since I have been on the ice, back when we were in the playoffs, so I am pretty excited,” he said.
He’s excited about the Stars’ offseason moves as well, especially the signing of fellow Czech Jaromir Jagr, a player he’s idolized growing up. Faksa first heard the news when he arrived in Dallas on Tuesday, and didn’t believe it.
“I flew to Dallas and J.J. (McQueen, Stars Player Development Coordinator) picked me up and told me that Jagr signed with Dallas, and I didn’t trust him,” Faksa said. “Then I read on the internet that Jagr had signed with Dallas, and I was surprised.”
And he’s looking forward to possibly skating with Jagr at training camp in a few months.
“When I was young I watched him on TV and when he played around my hometown, I watched him in person,” Faksa said. “It exciting that I can be on the ice with him.”