The Hockey News - - NEXT - – RYAN KENNEDY

|ON A CZECH TEAM that broke through to the world ju­nior semi­fi­nal for the first time since 2005, de­fense­man Libor Hajek was a rock. A sec­ond-round pick (37th over­all) by the Tampa Bay Light­ning in 2016, Hajek logged a lot of ice time for the Czechs and was by far their top blue­liner. To find out how the Bolts feel about the WHL Regina Pat’s progress, we spoke with as­sis­tant GM Julien BriseBois.

he is still learn­ing the game. The more reps they get, the more sit­u­a­tions they see, the more ac­cus­tomed they get, the eas­ier it is to make reads. I’ve seen a lot of progress from where he was last year to where he is now.” zone, mak­ing that first pass, I thought he did a re­ally good job at the world ju­niors. If you’re talk­ing cre­ative play and set­ting guys up? He’s good, not great.” im­pressed with his progress. He spent an ex­tended pe­riod of time with us in the AHL last year af­ter his sea­son in Saska­toon ended and I could tell he was try­ing to ap­ply things he learned. He’s try­ing to be quick up the ice, be quick on guys us­ing his skat­ing.”

his own at the WJC. He played big min­utes, they used him in all sit­u­a­tions, he re­trieved pucks quickly and if he had to, he skated it out. I thought he did re­ally well. I like his over­all ef­fi­ciency. You want some­one who makes the sim­ple play. He can work him­self out of a jam.”

lot stronger phys­i­cally over the last year and that has helped him bat­tle along the boards, pin­ning guys, mov­ing guys from the front of the net. He’s cer­tainly trend­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

would con­sider a first power play unit guy, but he can help on the sec­ond unit. He’s got a nice, heavy shot. At the next level, he could work on get­ting it off quicker.” HOCKEY SENSE DE­FENSE “LIKE EV­ERY YOUNG ‘D,’ “HE MORE THAN HELD PLAY­MAK­ING “BREAK­ING OUT OF HIS “HE HAS GOT­TEN A SKAT­ING SHOT “NICE, POW­ER­FUL SKATER. I’M “HE’S NOT WHAT YOU PHYS­I­CAL­ITY

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