Friday, July 25, 2008


Slovak Scrying: Marek Svatos

by Jes

Quite honestly, I have been surprised at how well Slovak forward Marek Svatos has done in his NHL career to date. Given that he was taken in the 7th round of the 2001 draft, I'm not the only one.

Yes, Svatos tore through the WHL as a member of the Kootenay Ice, but the dude is smaller than a leprechaun (5'10", my shiny metal ass!) and had serious injury problems before he ever hit the NHL ice surface. I never felt that Svatos would become an NHL regular given his shortcomings and brittleness.

That said, one could also view Svatos as a bit of a disappointment, given the fact that his production hasn't come close to the numbers he put up in his rookie season.

A few things are obvious ...

1. Svatos is, and will always be, a big injury risk. Not only does Svatos miss at least 15-20 games per season, but he is often playing at far less than 100%, limiting his effectiveness.

2. 2006-07 was the aberration, simply because his shot percentage was woefully low. Svatos is an excellent shooter and has a nose for the net.

3. Svatos' playmaking abilities still suck.

4. For a guy who can score 25-30 goals, Svatos gets very little ice time. Most goal scorers get at least 15 minutes a game.

Now that the Avs have signed the stunted Slovak to a 2-year contract, what can we expect from the guy?

For one thing, I don't see Svatos getting a whole lot more ice time than he's been getting. Yes, Hejduk is declining and aging, but the Avs have quite a few talented forwards and Svatos will have to fight Ryan Smyth, Darcy Tucker, Wojtek Wolski, and Milan Hejduk for ice time.

Svatos has improved his defensive game, but will likely still be pigeonholed as a 'tweener shuffling in between the 2nd and 3rd units.

So, I'd pretty much expect the same: He'll miss 15-20 games, put up 20-25 goals, and play about 13-14 minutes a game. Don't expect a massive spike in production any day soon.

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He was the last Slovak to make the World Junior Championships U20 first all-star team. Richard Panik will be the next this December.
In many ways, he reminds me of Petr Prucha, who also tends to underachieve offensively. Again, I'd point to his ice-time...
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