Monday, June 26, 2006


Introducing Lukas Krajicek

Although Canucks fans are super excited to have acquired Roberto Luongo, most are scratching their heads trying to figure out who the other guy is that the Canucks got in the deal: Lukas Krajicek.

Apart from the usual two-sentence crud or passing glance you may get from the MSM, he hasn't been given a former introduction to the Canucks fanbase.

Krajicek, 6'2" 195", was taken by the Panthers with the 24th overall pick in the 2001 Entry Draft. He was considered to be the premier 'skill' defenseman available in the draft, but there were concerns that his game wouldn't translate well at the NHL level because he was a bit soft on the defensive side and somewhat of a beanpole.

(as an aside, it wasn't a particular strong draft for defensemen, with the late-rounder Marek Zidlicky killing everyone to date and only Mike Komisarek as perhaps a true anchor defenceman-in-waiting)

Last season was his first full season in the NHL, at the age of 22 (he's now 23) and he put up 16 points in 67 games and could thank Roberto Luongo for making him look better than he was. Lukas did a solid job overall, and could be set to really put his game together in the next two seasons.

So, here is my old scouting report on Krajicek from

As for pronunciation, just go with 'Cry-check' and you'll be fine.

Undoubtably the most offensively skilled defenseman in his draft year, the Panthers traded up to grab a defenseman they hope they can groom to be a leader offensively. Krajicek came over two years ago, and plied his trade with the Detroit Compuware team of the NAHL. He is known for feverishly working on his skills, and perfecting his game.

A great skater both forwards and backwards, Krajicek has soft hands and is touted as the best passing defenseman in the 2001 draft. He has tremendous puck handling skills and offensive vision and creativity so rare in any prospect. The Panthers have always lacked a blue-chip offensive defenseman who can run the power play, and Krajicek has the tools to generate power play offense, as well as lead the rush.

Krajicek’s high skill level and smarts lead many scouts to believe that he can hold his own in the defensive end. However, there are questions about his physical game. Simply put, Krajicek prefers to stick-check, much like Nicklas Lidstrom or Phil Housley, and this can lead to problems against bigger opposing forwards who like to bull their way through the crease.

Krajicek is solidly built, although only 6’1” tall. When he is in the mood, he can hold his own with bigger opposing forwards, and has shown the fiestiness to drop the gloves, which many Czech prospects don’t have the tendancy to do.

He certainly has the offensive tools to succeed in the NHL, but will need a big punishing running mate to play with. He is a stick-checker who uses his speed and smarts to play defense, and will have to learn to make it a bit harder for opposing forwards to play against him. Some scouts claim Krajicek is a bit of a risk, but he could be the kind of offensive defenseman that puts up 40-50 points every year.

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