The draft, hands down, is the best time of the hockey season. Maybe I'm just saying that because the Wild haven't been seen post-season action since 2008, but that is besides the point.
The Wild hold seven picks this year, including the 7th overall pick. The last time that Wild had a pick this high was when the team selected Benoit Pouliot 4th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (the beginning of the Wild's awful draft record, as seen by our pal's inspiration for their blog's name...).
However, since GM Chuck Fletcher and Assistant GM Brett Flahr arrived, the team has started to see some promise. Some of these names include the Christ-like (or whoever you pray to) Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, Charlie Coyle and the recently drafted Jonas Brodin.
So, on June 22nd-23rd, we will all sit down in front of the television/computer and watch the draft. But if you are wondering, "who's who", then you haven't been reading HW because thats my job.
So without further ado:
Introducing our 2012 NHL #12 Draft Prospect - Radek Faksa
Don't forget to check out the Hockey Wilderness 2011 Draft Page as well. Just click on the picture.
Center / Kitchener Rangers
Jan 9 1994
|2011/12 - Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Accomplishments & Awards:
|2011/12||CHL Top Prospects Game
|Kitchener Rangers Michael Pappert Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Prospect Jersey (What Would They Look Like In a Wild Jersey?):
I'm running out of things to say ... all I'll say is Faksa is one of my favorites from this years draft
Summarized Scouting Report
Plays a power-forward style minus the fighting ... impressive blend of size, skating and skill ... a player who can do many little things well ... big, offensively talented center ... he’s a quick skater ... has great size and does a pretty good job of utilizing it to his advantage ... plays with a bit of an edge ... has size and uses it for all the right reasons offensively ... owns a hard accurate shot with good velocity ... a quick release and a heavy shot ... an above-average puck-handler and passer ... has good hands ... his board play may be one of the best in the draft ... above-average puck protection skills ...very aggressive in driving to the net with the puck ... has presence down low and can make plays in front of the net ... played the point on the power play ... competes hard on the forecheck ... not afraid to play in traffic ... above average hockey sense at both ends of the rink ... has enough creativity in the offensive zone ... he’s able to defend at what I consider an elite level right now ... is extremely diligent on the defensive side of the puck ..a diligent back checker ... best asset remains his overall balanced game ... has displayed improved consistency this year ... competes with passion and a win-at-all cost approach
Faksa lacks a wow factor to his game ... lacks explosiveness in his skating ... would have to improve his foot speed and skating ... still needs to develop his body a lot ... offensive upside of Radek Faska is still relatively unknown
#2 Two-way centerman
2012 draft prospect Radek Faksa a hot commodity (via THNTV)
Where Does He Fit In The Wild?
While I love Radek Faksa, the Wild already have a pleathora of talented centers with Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson and Zach Phillips.
Every year, there is a prospect that is the jack of all trades but master of none. Last year it could argued that it was Sean Couturier and in 2010, it could be argued that it was Austin Watson.
This year it seems that label has fallen onto Radek Faksa.
But for me, I love these character jack-of-all-trades players, especially if that is complimented by size and smarts. Need an example? Think Logan Couture.
In Faksa case, what we have is a smart two-way center blessed with size, smarts and an all-rounded offensive package. He has a dangerous shot, above-average playmaking skills and his board play and puck protection skills is one of the best in the draft. All that offensive potential is wrapped in a nice package with his elite defensive ability.
So why isn't he being considered in the top 5? Because he lacks the dynamic explosiveness many teams would like to see when they are hoping to get a top line forward. Dynamic play often suggests elite offensive creativity and that is what teams in the top 10 picks want, not some consistently reliable two-way centerman.
This is just a personal hunch, but I feel Raksa will prove many wrong. When I look at prospects, I believe the years after the draft is probably more important than the years before the draft, so I look for prospects who have the right tools in the right place surrounded by the right people.
Faksa obviously has the tools, he will continue developing in the top junior league in the world as a top line centerman and will have two more chances to represnt his country against the best juniors in the world, AND he is being coached by the Kitchener Rangers, the team that has produced Jeff Skinner and Mike Richards.
I think Faksa can be one of the better players in this years draft. But then again, its a personal hunch.
Special thanks to HFBoards, Future Considerations, The Hockey Writers, TSN, OHLProspeccts and The Scouting Report