Our 11th ranked prospect for this June’s NHL entry draft is a solid two way center from the Czech Republic, Radek Faksa of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. Faksa hopes to follow in the long line of successful NHL drafted forwards from Kitchener, and continue the streak of top 10 picks following in the footsteps of Gabriel Landeskog and Jeff Skinner. Faksa is the first of our Czech born forwards rated in the first round along with World Junior teammate Tomas Hertl.
Born Jan 9 1994 – Opava, Czech Republic
Height 6.03 — Weight 202 — Shoots Left
This season Radek Faksa led all OHL rookies with 66 points in 62 games. Faksa came to Kitchener and showed that he was very quick to adapt to the North American game. Faksa pairs outstanding hockey sense and offensive instincts, with his very good vision and passing skills to be an excellent playmaker. He also has a good wrist shot with an excellent release. Faksa is an above average skater, with good speed and strong balance which makes him difficult to knock off the puck. He isn’t afraid to go into traffic and to take hits to make plays for the Rangers. For these reasons we believe Faksa will be a top 6 centre at the NHL level.
At 6’3, 202lbs Faksa has the great size that many NHL teams covet down the middle. Faksa uses that size effectively to protect the puck, to establish position in the offensive zone. We do however think that Faksa can use his size more effectively and we’d like to see him drive the net harder with the puck on his stick. We’d also like to see Faksa use his size advantage to be a more effective body checker, especially on the forecheck.
Faksa is also an excellent defensive player. He is often used to check the opponent’s top line, and is a key penalty killer for Kitchener. Faksa makes quick decisions and is equally adept at breaking up plays in both the neutral zone and his defensive end. He uses his size and smarts to angle opponents to the outside and keep them from dangerous areas. His long reach is an important asset in closing down passing lanes as well. Faksa however could stand to improve on his faceoff skills in order to be a true shutdown centre in the NHL.
Faksa is an intriguing prospect, who will definitely be highly sought after come draft day. His combination of excellent size and strong two way play will be in high demand. We’d compare Faksa’s maximum potential to that of Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild. The major question in his game that keeps him a step below the elite centres in this draft is whether he possesses the real high end offensive skills necessary to be a first liner in the NHL. However we do believe he can definetely be a solid top 6 player, with an outside chance of being a top liner.
… and thats the Last Word.