Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Stanislav Lascek: The boat that all the NHL teams missed

Where's the love??

While the scouts, fans, and media have focused their QMJHL lust on phenom Sidney Crosby, it’s been a young Slovak, Stanislav Lascek, who has taken over the lead in the QMJHL scoring race.

For his recent efforts, Lascek was named QMJHL Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row!

The 18 year-old Lascek now has 7 goals and 17 assists in 12 games!

So, you ask, who does this fine prospect belong to?

Answer: nobody

That’s right, one of the most talented offensive producers in all of Canadian hockey over the past 2 seasons went completed undrafted in the 2004 Entry Draft.

In my pre-draft preview, I ranked Lascek 9th with these caveats:

Stano Lascek is the ultimate dark horse, or black sheep, in this draft for the Slovaks. Inexplicably, he finished the year unranked by CSS, but other sources, such as ISS, see potential and production within Lascek’s game.

Unlike the other Slovak prospects, Lascek is not very polished or smooth in the least. ‘Choppy’ would be a nice way of describing his skating ability, and he does not excel at carrying the puck.
On top of his described feeble skating skills, Lascek is also quite thin and not very strong. A lack of size combined with poor skating ability is the death knell for most any prospect.

For all of his faults, there are things Lascek can do very well, mainly score goals and produce offensively.

There was once a poor skating right winger who lacked strength, yet went on to score 50 goals with the Red Wings one season. His name? Ray Sheppard.

Come draft day, it will be very hard to guess if NHL teams can overlook Lascek’s deficiencies and draft a player based on proven production. There have been bigger ‘project’ players that have been drafted, and never produced well at any level. He just may make one lucky team very happy.

To my shagrin, Lascek went completely through the draft without even a sniff from 30 NHL teams. Now, all he is doing is leading the QMJHL in scoring.

With offence at a premium in the NHL, and the importance of development talent from ‘within’, why couldn’t one NHL team figure out that spending a late-round pick on a very talented producer like Lascek, investing some $$ in skating instruction for the guy, and letting him develop in their system might very well reward them with an impact offensive player in the future?

Are you telling me that it’s worthwhile to draft some scrub grinder from the WHL or some big sloppy US High School kid over a junior who has produced more than most of his peers?

Low risk, high reward...it’s amazing how dumb NHL teams can be, even when it comes to late round picks. If some NHL teams learned how to better invest their resources in ALL of their draft picks (Not just the top picks), they would put themselves in a better spot with more useful assets.

Unfortunately, it seems many teams still throw away their late-round picks on prayers and don’t take any time to fit these draftees into their future plans. Talented players like Stansilav Lascek or Jan Marek (Rangers 9th rounder) aren’t ever given a fair chance.

Maybe next year, one NHL team will take Lascek and invest some time and money for, perhaps, a very high reward.

It's the Don Cherry Effect! or as critics have called it anti-european bias!
I think someone needs to hire a scout for the Slovak prospects.
Well Lascek was playing in the QMJHL last year, so he was seen plenty by scouts.

I think this boils down to the size bias, and not the European bias. If Lascek were over that magical 6'0" barrier, he would have easily been drafted.

Plenty of guys from his home country (like Tomas Troliga or Vlado Kutny) have far less talent, but were drafted because they are tall... maybe he should wear platform skates.
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