Flames 2012 First Round Targets: Radek Faksa

Kent Wilson
June 06 2012 11:20AM

 

 

The first subject of our draft targets series is Czech native Radek Faksa. Like Sven Baertschi last year, Faksa's draft season was his first in North America after spending some time developing in various leagues on home soil. And, like Baertschi, his debut was a strong one: despite appearing in just 62 games, Faksa won the OHL rookie scoring race with 66, a full 13-points over second placed Connor Brown. He also placed third on the Kitchener Rangers in output, behind Michael Catenacci and Tobias Reider.

The counting numbers are good but not great. What makes Faksa an intriguing possibility is his strong scouting reports and apparent variety of skills.

According to Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman, Faksa doesn't have any glaring weaknesses

Faksa is a pretty well-rounded player who...is notably strong at all areas of the game. He's a solid to above-average skater with nice acceleration and who can get to a desirable top speed. Faksa's puck skills are above-average as well and he's certainly effective controlling the puck. He will show the ability to be a good puck distributer, though I have heard conflicting reports on this area of his game from scouts as some think he's just solid and other think potentially high end...
Faksa shows very good dependability in the defensive end and scouts I've talked to rave about his defensive game which is high-end potentially and creates a lot of value when combined with his skill set. He can kill penalties effectively and has been regularly relied on to play high-leverage minutes in both ends. He also has no fear of getting involved with the physical game as he will battle hard in the corners, take his checks with the body, and drive the net with regularity.

Pronman ranks Faksa as the 10th best available prospect this year. I followed up with Corey about the kid and he noted that Faksa played in tough circumstances last year:

He will be a guy I think who advanced stats people will love. He got the tough/defensive minutes a lot in Kitchener and excelled at it while putting up the points. He's a guy who I think can be a good top six scorer, while getting a ton of defensive zone starts and playing against tough opponents.

Good news so far. Other scouting reports are similarly filled with praise for Faksa's compete level, size and alla round game.

Other Numbers

Because Faksa played in the OHL, I was able to go through and parse his seasonal output to determine where he was doing much of his scoring and to what degree he was contributing to Kitchener's total offense.

  • Total points: 66
  • PPG: 1.06
  • ES%: 61
  • PP%: 33
  • TEAM%: 28

Faksa wasn't a huge driving force of the Ranger's offense, couting on just 28% of the offense when he was in the line-up, however he did a majority of his damage at even strength, which is a good sign. Again, this is comparable to Sven Baertschi who was below 30% in terms of TEAM% in his rookie season, but scored a majority of his points at five-on-five that year.

Faksa also scored four short-handed points during the year and none of them came with an empty net, which somewhat confirms Corey's assertion that the kid wasn't just scoring easy baskets from the free throw line.

The only mark against Faksa I could dig up is nobody really believes he will be a dynamic, high-end scorer in the big leagues - his purported ceiling at this point is a capable, top-six player who can play against a variety of opponents. 

Probable Target?

The Flames haven't been shy about procuring guys form the OHL over the last few years: Mat Pelech, TJ Brodie, Greg Nemisz, Chris Breen and Bryan Cameron all came to the org from that section of the CHL, so we know the team has a presence there. In addition, a lot fo arrows are pointing in the right direction for Faksa: he's a big center (6'3", 203 pounds) who can play the game at both ends and who won the OHL rookie scoring race while taking on the tough sledding.

Possibility he will be available at 14: High Moderate

Possibility Flames will pick him: Moderate-to-high

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 BACKBURNER
June 06 2012, 11:25AM
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I'm sure he'll be picked in the top ten... this kid's a beast!!

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#2 shutout
June 06 2012, 11:32AM
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Big center with offensive upside will go in the top 10. Too many teams are seeing the benefits of being strong through the middle and have moved on from the building from the back out mentality. See his stocking being pretty high and would not expect him to be around at 14.

Have him third behind Teravainen and Collberg that I would like the Flames to look at. Reason is that I think the two wingers have a much higher skill level and higher ceiling and while the Flames need some center ice help they are a team that needs to be looking at maximizing its skill even more at this time. That said, I would be very happy with Faksa.

Prediction is that the pick wont be available as the Flames will have traded the #14 pick to Buffalo for a deal that centers around Derek Roy.

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#3 SmellOfVictory
June 06 2012, 11:36AM
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Sold! Also nice to see that he's not at the upper end age-wise.

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#4 BACKBURNER
June 06 2012, 11:40AM
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@shutout

No chance.. flames won't trade their first this year unless they want to move up in the draft..

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#5 Mark
June 06 2012, 12:17PM
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Really like this article Kent but i do disagree with having a "High" chance Faksa will be available. From what I see Faksa is around the 6 or 7 best forward available. I really do think someone like Buffalo or Winnipeg will pick up Faksa. So if i could add any input to this article i would put his availability at : moderate. I really do like the layout of this series of articles the only other thing I could ask for would be NHL equivalency. Might give us a better comparison between leagues once you review more prospects

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#6 Baalzamon
June 06 2012, 12:29PM
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given how thin this draft is on forwards, and how teams tend to pass up defensemen to get inferior forwards (see Fowler, Cam; Gormley, Brandon; Beaulieu, Nathan; Murray, Ryan) I think the chances of Faksa being overdrafted are off the charts--meaning, he is almost certainly NOT going to be available at 14th. In a more ordinary draft (such as 2011) the chance of that would have been MUCH better.

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#7 Baalzamon
June 06 2012, 12:34PM
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@shutout

if the Flames had wanted Roy, they would have targetted him in the Regehr trade.

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#8 Potlicker
June 06 2012, 12:48PM
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Well if the forwards/centre position is thin in this draft & teams ahead of us jump on these players before us, it just means a pretty darn good solid D man will be available. Sadly, we need everything, so win win. But this kid would be a pretty solid 1st round pick from what I am reading here.

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#9 xis10ce
June 06 2012, 01:33PM
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A real positive about taking a Euro player that has just played their first year in North America is that (so I've heard) it often takes Euro players some time to adjust to the North American game. Meaning he has the potential to be that much better next year. Not only because he's another year into hockey and is no longer a rookie, but also because he might be fully adjusted now to playing on 200x85 instead of 225x100 and a more physical game that comes with less playing surface to skate around on.

Granted I've also heard that Czech hockey tends to be closer to that of NA hockey than compared to some other more finesse nations like Swe or Fin.

So who knows, he very well might compare well to Sven in that respect. I would not complain at the moment if we made him the 14th overall pick this year assuming he was still available come that position.

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#10 everton fc
June 06 2012, 02:01PM
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Roy is small... 29...

We certainly don't need another tiny centremen who's on the cusp of 30. In fact, the fewer guys we have on the roster under 6 feet, the better.

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#12 RexLibris
June 06 2012, 03:20PM
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Faksa would be a good pick, but I believe that the Flames would need to trade to #10 to get him. Buffalo and Washington both having two first round picks they are likely to target a scarce forward with the first and select defense, or a sliding talent, with the second.

If Faksa had played overseas he might have a chance at sliding down the rankings.

Reider and Catenacci are both intriguing prospects though. Catenacci, while small, seems to have a bit of a competitive edge to his game. He and Reider led the OHL in playoff points but Catenacci, if I recall correctly, had about 20+ more penalty minutes. He's undrafted and might be a good Flames camp invite this summer.

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#13 JF
June 06 2012, 03:53PM
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Yeah, Faksa's the guy I want if he's there... trouble is I don't think he'll be there. But fingers crossed.

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#14 RexLibris
June 06 2012, 05:40PM
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The Flames could try and trade up to 11th with Washington by moving Backlund and their 14th overall pick, I suppose.

That would only be further exacerbating their generation-gap on the roster, though, and wouldn't return a player that could take Backlund's minutes this season.

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#15 Austin
June 06 2012, 05:50PM
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I like the pick of Faksa in general. Maybe teams will pass on him because they are looking for more dynamic/top-end talent. Who knows? If he falls to where the Flames are at, we should take him before guys like Lindholm, Collberg, Aberg etc. he is probably the best guy we can hope for to fall out of the top 10 for us to get. I don't think we should trade up to #10 if he is there though.

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#17 Baalzamon
June 06 2012, 07:07PM
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@RexLibris

holy overpayment, Batman! It's not like moving from 14th to 11th is half the draft--it's 3 spots. and the Caps have 2 1st rounders. More like Greg Nemisz or the 2014 2nd rounder.

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#18 ChinookArch
June 06 2012, 08:09PM
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RexLibris wrote:

The Flames could try and trade up to 11th with Washington by moving Backlund and their 14th overall pick, I suppose.

That would only be further exacerbating their generation-gap on the roster, though, and wouldn't return a player that could take Backlund's minutes this season.

You used to be a second sober thought. Lately, not so much.

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#19 Mark
June 06 2012, 08:17PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

How does "moderate" work for you?

I think he has a chance to be available but I think him and Terevainen are both not "high" possibilities to be available. I would consider Ceci "High" cause i believe he is probable but from what I have researched on Faksa he seems like someone who will be off the board around 10. Just my personal opinion... in saying that I would be thrilled to have Faksa at 14 and from the players you mentioned in your previous article I hope him or Ceci will be putting on a flaming C on draft day :)

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#21 Austin
June 06 2012, 09:01PM
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Ceci will likely be gone by 10 or 11 in my opinion simply due to his huge offensive upside.

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#22 loudogYYC
June 06 2012, 09:23PM
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You never know what you're gonna get at the draft. Some people think Olli Maatta won't be available at 14 but my guess is he'll go between 19 and 23.

I'd be more than happy if the Flames draft either Faksa or Girgensons. Centremen are what this team needs, pick as many as you can and develop the heck out of them.

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#23 Austin
June 06 2012, 10:35PM
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@loudogYYC

You wouldn't see the Flames taking him if he was available at #14???

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#24 Franko J
June 07 2012, 12:28AM
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Faska will not be available at the 14th spot. Washington or Buffalo will make sure of that.

Last season the Flames did pick well with Sven Baertschi. I feel he is to the 2011 draft what Parise was to the 2003 draft. Although too early to tell how good he might be, if I were the Flames, I would draft with him in mind. Like LOUDOGYYC mention earlier, draft as many centers as possible.

With Reinhart, Horak, Grandlund, in the prospect pool as centers. Along with the recent signing of Cervenka, and Backlund in the mix, I think Calgary does have a little bit of everything / something at the center position. However, I think they are lacking a center with a full compliment of size, who is very skilled and who can put the puck consistenly in the net. Unfortunately for the Flames, they are not drafting from a 1 to 6 position therefore must try and draft a center who can make an impact at the NHL level and assist in Baertschi being a difference maker in games. Far too often the Flames wasted chances to draft the impact center for Iggy. Hopefully with this draft the Flames have learned from their past mistakes.

Right now I keep hearing the name of Janikowski, however my dark horse picks at center would be Sissons, Nieves, and Samuelsson. All three choices skate very well, but have very good size, but most importantly are highly talented and maybe win the Flames more shoot outs in the future.

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#25 Ryan Pike
June 07 2012, 12:32AM
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Two developments make Faksa quite alluring to the Flames.

-#1: He's a European already playing in North America (just like SVEN).

-#2: He's from the OHL (just like T.J. Brodie) at a time where the Flames will likely have SOME WHL prospects (Brossoit, Wotherspoon, etc) but nobody in the O. Brodie's success makes them likely to go back to the OHL well, as well as a willingness to "spread the risk" by taking players from all over the place.

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#26 the-wolf
June 07 2012, 08:06AM
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As far as high end skill that has a decent shot of still being around at 14, I can see Collberg. Which would be interesting. RW shooter to Baertschi LW playmaking. Not that both of them can't both score and pass, but I sense an interesting chemistry there. Just need a big, skilled center to put between them. Who can we move for Giregnsons?

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#27 RexLibris
June 07 2012, 10:59AM
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@ChinookArch

Maybe Kent should install a Nations Breathalyer. ;-)

Not recommending the trade up, I'm just offering up a scenario for Flames fans wanting to climb higher in the draft order.

My opinion on the draft would be to stand pat, and wait for a run on forwards to drop some high-end defensemen to the 14 range.

Sound a little more sober?

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#28 RexLibris
June 07 2012, 11:04AM
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FrankoJ

Samuelsson's skating is what is holding him out of the concensus of first round picks, he also will likely play RW when he turns pro.

Sissons is trending to go somewhere between late 1st and early second right now, from everything I have read. Samuelsson is ranked slightly lower than him, from what I remember, because he has less finishing ability. Nieves has been all over the map, from what I recall of last year's early rankings to this spring.

I agree that loading up at center is a good idea as it increases the chances of finding "the one". Wingers tend to be more readily available through trade and draft.

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#29 Danny Gray
June 07 2012, 11:48AM
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FWIW I've heard a few reports that say the Leafs are high on him. If they don't nab Galyenchuk or Grigernko at 5 and can't move up I can see them either trading down if they think he'll be there or just picking him at 5.

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#30 loudogYYC
June 07 2012, 07:26PM
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@Austin

If the Flames took Maatta at 14 with either Faksa or Girgensons available, I'd be really pissed.

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