Earlier this year, the Minnesota Wild drafted native of the Czech Republic and Kelowna Rocket forward Pavel Novak in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Today, the Czech National Team announced that Novak has been named to their World Juniors training camp roster.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound winger was seen by scouts as a talented yet inconsistent scorer, with good reflexes and an array of shot-making skills, but with speed and motor leaving something to be desired. Novak came into the 2020 draft off a successful Western Hockey League season with the Kelowna Rockets, scoring 25 goals and 33 assists in 55 games, but has been up and down at times with HC Stadion Litomerice of the Czech2 league, the team to which he was loaned for the 2020-21 season. Thus far this season on a struggling team, Novak has one goal and four assists in 10 games played, and has been held off the scoresheet in four games in November.
His prospects for making the Czech National World Juniors team seems to be pretty bright, as Novak is one of only seven NHL-drafted skaters currently on the camp list, with another three players currently slated to be selected in upcoming drafts. Some of the other 2020 draft picks Novak will compete with to make the Czech roster include Michal Teply (4th round, Chicago Blackhawks), Jan Mysak (2nd round, Montreal Canadians) and Adam Raska (7th round, San Jose Sharks).
The 2021 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships are scheduled to begin on December 25th, with the gold medal game slated for January 5th. The tournament will be hosted in Edmonton, Alberta, in a bubble-style similar to the 2020 NHL playoffs, with no spectators allowed.