Friday, July 22, 2005


CHL: Spotlight on Marek Polak

While there is a lull in the action, I'd like to take a closer look at CHL Import Draft pick Marek Polak, one of three Trinec prospects taken by CHL clubs a few weeks ago. Polak was taken 7th overall by the Sudbury Wolves and was the bigger mystery picks taken high in the draft.

Under the new CBA, Marek may have to wait another year to be selected. He was a 2006 eligible draft pick for the NHL, but now it looks like all kids his age will have to wait until 2007 to hear their names called.

(On another note, doesn't this make the 2006 draft absolutely weak? Will they even have a draft?)

In a previous post, I wasn't able to elaborate very much on this 6'2" 200, pound winger, but superscout Robert Neuhauser (of McKeens) came to the rescue and shares his scouting knowledge of this unheralded tank.

Scouting: a solid skater with good lower-body strength and balance .. possesses solid agility, but could use bigger top-end speed .. adequate acceleration .. okay stickhandling skills .. can occassionally beat an opponent in one-on-one and go with the puck into traffic .. a competitive warrior .. above-average toughness .. hits hard along the boards and mucks in thecorners .. unleashes a hard slap shot .. battles traffic effectively ..adequate defensive awareness, but has to further improve in this asset .. good leadership skills .. solid on the special units .. adequate vision and hockey sense, but misreads developing plays at times and is at the wrong place .. prone to odd off-games where he isn't able to create quality plays with the puck and is hampered by a lack of elite smarts.

In my opinion would Marek Polak make a solid major junior player after the needed adjustment period. The Wolves made a solid pick at the 7th spot. He doesn't speak very good English at this point, but is picking up on his knowledge during the summer. Polak is going to report to the Wolves summer camp and his playing style should translate to the OHL adequately well.

Polak is among the grittiest players of the Czech '88 class and wanted to play major junior as early as possible. He wasn't very happy with his situation on the Trinec junior team, mainly with the fact that he definitely wouldn't get any playing time on the senior team in 2005-2006. The Czech 1988 birthyear is very strong which causes the fact that Polak isn't among the most highly-touted prospects, but he is a solid player in the second tier and a possible NHL draft pick if he adjusts to the OHL quickly enough.

Don't expect him to score big numbers in his rookie OHL season, he will need to be brought along slowly to adapt, but should become a solid asset to your team down the road. I expect Polak to be a modest scorer in 2005-2006 before possibly raising his offensive output in the next seasons. He won't ever be among the scoring champions, but should make a solid OHL player with decent offensive numbers.


On another note, I had one of my Jedi premonitions last night: Gilbert Brule donning a Vancouver Canucks sweater at the 2005 Entry Draft. I saw great joy in Vancouver, and great sadness in New York. I am definitely excited and nervous about tonight's draft lottery.

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