Libor Hajek Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #27

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TopShelfProspectsLibor Hajek was drafted in the first round, second overall at the 2015 CHL Import Draft. The Czech defenceman has made an excellent transition to the WHL this year. With 26 points in 69 games for the Saskatoon Blades, he was one of the bright spots on a team that struggled as they continue to rebuild after going all in for a shot at the 2013 Memorial Cup. The Blades may not have the most talent or experience in the league, but playing for this squad gave Hajek the opportunity to play huge minutes and in all situations. Hajek also has plenty of international experience, playing for the Czech squad in both the 2015 and 2016 IIHF Under 18 World Championships, as well as winning a silver medal at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka. Hajek also appeared at the CHL Top Prospects game.

Libor Hajek Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #27

Defense — shoots Left
Born Feb 4 1998 — Smrcek, Czech Rep.
Height 6’01” — Weight 198 lbs [185 cm / 90 kg]

Libor Hajek is a smooth skater. His top end speed is good, but not great. The rest of his skating makes up for it though. He an excellent first step and good acceleration in both directions. He also has excellent pivots and agility allowing him to cover large areas of the ice effectively, and transition well from offense to defense and vice-versa. Hajek has a powerful stride and good balance. He uses that balance to effectively clear the front of the net and battle for loose pucks in the corner. While Hajek shows good core strength, he could improve that as well as add some upper body strength.

Libor Hajek shown the ability to move the puck, transitioning quickly out of his own end and making a strong first pass. He is not a huge producer at the blue line on the power play, but he has shown some ability to make plays from there. Hajek has shown good vision and passing ability, but could stand to work on his stick handling. If he was a bit more confident, he could walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes or work to make a better play with the puck. His slap shot is decent, but could use some work on his power and accuracy going forward. The power may come as he improves his upper body strength going forward.  He is not one to lead the rush, instead looking to pass the puck forward and stay at home in his own end.  He does pick his spots to join as a trailer though.

Libor Hajek is a strong defensive defender. He is difficult to beat off the rush, and forces attackers to the outside.  He has good gap control, and can land a big hit if an opponent tries to beat him to the outside but does not go around chasing hits and getting himself caught out of position. In fact, his positioning in his own end is a real strong point. Hajek uses his size and long stick to cut down passing lanes. He keeps himself between the puck and the front of the net, and keeps his opponent to the outside not just off the rush, but in defending against the cycle as well. He is not afraid to battle for loose pucks, and works well to keep the front of the net clear.  He anticipates plays extremely well. Hajek has high end hockey IQ, and seems to be a step ahead of opponents.

Libor Hajek projects as a strong defensive defenceman, who also adds a little offense from the back end. With an improved slapshot and a little bit better high end speed; he could be even more than that; but its more likely that his ceiling is as a complimentary defenceman on the top pair. His style is reminiscent of Marc Methot, though this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent.

The following are highlights of Libo Hajek, compiled from youtube. Unfortunately there is not a lot of quality video available.

Check back tomorrow for the #28 Prospect on our NHL Draft Board.

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