This is the sixth article in our Oilers Draft Watch 2011 series.
As The Copper & Blue wound down our pre-draft coverage in 2010, I looked at two seventh-round long-shots, Iiro Pakarinen and Viktor Svedberg. Pakarinen hasn't panned out yet, but Svedberg is a guy to keep an eye on. His game is catching up to his body and he made his SEL debut this year. As we wind down the 2011 draft coverage, it's time to look at another couple of longshots, the first plying his trade in Stu MacGregor's back yard.
Matej Stransky is a 6'2" 195 lb Czech-born right wing currently playing for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. Stransky is ranked 136th amongst North American skaters by NHL Decentralized Scouting, meaning he's a longshot to be taken this year. But I wouldn't be writing about him unless Stransky had some positives, both in talent and underlying statistics, that make him an attractive long-term prospect and a 6th and 7th round target. Our friends at The Scouting Report have Stransky ranked 83rd overall and admit that he is a project:
While he is more of a project pick at this point, he has very good size and is tough to move off the puck. He is also more skilled than his numbers would suggest. The problem for him has been consistency, but there is no denying his talent. After a good but inconsistent regular season, Stransky turned up the play during the playoffs. Some patience will be needed with him, but with the many changes expected in Saskatoon next year, Stransky will be given the opportunity to play a bigger role with the Blades.
|2010 - Saskatoon Blades
One of the more interesting things about Stransky's numbers is the 24 even strength points. It doesn't seem like many, but considering he spent most of the season on the third line, it's eye-opening. Even more eye-opening is Stransky's power play point total - 2. A Blades roster loaded with talent prevented the rookie winger from seeing the ice on the power play.
His even strength points per game works out to .338, well below the per game rates of the top players in the draft, but considering he's a North American rookie relegated to the third line, there may well be a player under all of these reasons and circumstances.
"The first 15 games were hard for me. It was a different style of game. But I got to a point where I felt comfortable because I was able to understand the language and talk with the guys. It was hard when I first came. Now I understand and everything is OK."
In his first 15 games, Stransky scored twice and added 4 assists for 6 points. He was even in those 15 games. Except for a 15-game stretch from December 29 through the end of January when he tallied 7 points, those 6 points tied for his second- highest scoring stretch throughout the season. So while the transition was difficult for him mentally, it didn't affect his production on the ice.
I spoke with a WHL scout about Stransky and while he wasn't enthused about Stransky's disappearing act...
"He's good at everything but has no elite tools. Good vision, good passer and puck-handler, good hands, size that he doesn't use. The biggest issue is how he disappears at times. Not just for a period or two, for three or four games."
...he did say he has the skill to be drafted late Saturday.
He's a sizeable winger with skill swimming in the Oilers' favorite fishing hole, and he's a long-term project. He's a guy the Oilers might take at the top of the 7th round. Oh, and as per his video interview above, he's nice to people.