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Prospect Files: Radek Faksa

While I was at the World Junior Hockey Championships for In The O Radio one player not on team Canada really caught my attention while watching the round robin games in Edmonton. He had size, speed and puck skill that is rare in a draft-eligible player. This week I am going to profile him! Let’s get to know the game of Radek Faksa better.

The Line:

Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 202 lbs
Shoots: Left
Plays: Center
Draft Eligible: 2012

The Kitchener Rangers coach and General Manager, Steve Spott looks to have done it again with his import picks. The Rangers just saw import, Gabriel Landeskog leave for the NHL and is playing regular minutes with the Colorado Avalanche. To take his place, Spott acquired Radek Faksa, who hails from the Czech Republic.  He is quickly rocketing up the draft boards and looks to be a sure-fire top 10 pick in this year’s NHL draft.

Through 56 games with the Kitchener Rangers in 2011/2012, Faksa has amassed 24 goals and 33 assists. In his first year, he has a point-per-game pace going. That is rare production from a first-year import in the OHL.

But what makes him so special?

Faksa has a unique skill set that should make him lethal at the next level. His big 6 foot 3 frame and blazing fast speed makes him hard to contain through the neutral zone and hard to stand up at the blue line. Then the silky smooth hands and strong skating give him options in attacking the net. He can go forehand, stick handle or even go to the back hand and cut hard to the outside, around defenders.

Faksa is also very responsible defensively. He is always the third guy back, picking up the trailer when the opposing team is on the rush and rarely turns the puck over in dangerous places. He is also very good at separating players from the puck along the boards leading to him winning puck battles. He is a 200 foot player.

An underrated part of Faksa’s game is his shot. When he is coming down the wing at speed and cuts to the middle, he’s able to shoot the puck fairly hard and deadly adequate. All of the above-mentioned skills make Faksa an extremely dangerous player off the rush. You do not want to turn the puck over at his blue line to him. He will make you pay.

Faksa really has all parts of the game covered and really doesn’t have one area of his game that has a glaring need for improvement. If there was one spot that I could knit-pick on, it is his faceoff ability. He wins a lot of draws in the O against weaker opponents but when he goes up against the top faceoff men, he struggles. With someone that has the hands that Faksa possesses, it should not be hard to improve this area of his game.

NHL Player Comparison: Eric Staal--Carolina Hurricanes

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