By ANDREW OMRAN
The 2012 NHL central draft rankings have been released and the player listed fourth overall is found right here in Kitchener.
Rangers forward, Radek Faksa, has impressed scouts across the country in a season where he has been scoring at a point per game pace.
Despite his terrific play, the Czech forward wasn’t expecting to show up near the top of the draft ranking but he knows what he has to do to continue producing at this level.
“It was a big surprise right away so I’m very happy but it’s just half the season … I must give hard work always. It’s hard because I’m tired from lots of games and last season I did not have lots of games so it’s different now. I hope I have good conditioning,” he said.
Faksa’s success to this point has not gone unnoticed by head coach, Steve Spott.
“I think Radek Faksa’s one of the smartest players we’ve had in the organization for a long time … He’s big, he’s strong and he plays the game hard,” he said.
Spott said Faksa has a bright future ahead of him.
“He has all the NHL intangibles. He trains extremely hard off the ice, he works on his game in practice and ultimately, his hockey sense is at a world class level.
“He has the chance to be a great NHL second-line centreman.”
Just like any young player, Faksa has a lot to work on to prepare to play at the NHL level.
“He’s got to stay in the weight room,” Spott said. “He’s got to continue to physically develop. He’s a tall kid but he still has room to grow on that body. It’s a matter of working on your skating like all players do and then obviously getting stronger in the weight room.”
Faksa is currently second on the team in scoring, only trailing teammate Tobias Rieder, in a season where he has brought goal scoring and a physical element to the team to go along with some much-needed experience.
Having played at the World Junior Championship in Alberta this past December, Faksa now has some familiarity with playing in high-pressure games.
“It was very good experience because I was young and it was in Canada so lots of people … it’s a very big experience for me,” Faksa said.