Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Features

Matej Stransky Making Solid Strides

Stranksy has climbed the ranks of the Stars prospects over the past year

Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 5:21 PM / Feature
By Mark Stepneski
X
Share with your Friends


Matej Stransky Making Solid Strides

The Dallas Stars have had success with later-round draft picks in recent years, and another late-round success story could be on the horizon with right wing Matej Stransky.

Stransky was the 165th overall pick in the 2011 entry draft

The 19-year-old right wing, a sixth round pick (165th overall) in 2011, has climbed the ranks of Dallas prospects over the past year, and it’s easy to see why. He led the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades in goals (39), assists (42) and points (81) in 70 games played. The 81 points were more than triple the 26 points he put up in his rookie season with the Blades.

“Of all the players in our organization, he probably took the biggest strides in improvement this year,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Player Personnel. “He really is an impressive player.”

Stransky’s improvement was impressive enough to land a three-year entry level contract with Dallas, which he signed during the spring. It’s a contract he might not have right now if he hadn’t decided to change the course of his hockey development two years ago.

“The junior hockey in Czech (Republic) is not really that good and my agent asked me if I wanted to go to North America,” Stransky said.

And he did, heading to play for Saskatoon which picked him 61st in the 2010 CHL Import Draft on the recommendation of his agent.

“I made that step and I am really happy I did. It really helped me a lot,” Stransky said. “If I had stayed in the Czech Republic, I probably wouldn’t have been drafted in 2011 so it was a good step for me.”

But there was a learning curve for Stransky, who joined the Blades at age 17. The first season in North America meant getting used to a different style of game, a new language and a new culture. He played 71 games in his rookie season with Saskatoon, registering 14 goals and 12 assists.

“He had some ups and downs and some consistency issues,” said Stars scout Dennis Holland. “I think that has to do with coming to North America, being away from family and being in a different culture.”

But the Stars saw plenty to like in Stransky and they took him with that sixth-round pick in 2011. Stransky didn’t disappoint, finishing 15th in the WHL in goal scoring and tying for 19th in points in 2011-12. His 14 power play goals were tops on the Blades and tied for 15th in the WHL.

“The first season was the experience in North America. We had a good team and I didn’t play on the power play,” said Stransky. “The second year, I knew what I had to work on, I played a lot and we had a good team. The English was better and that helps, too.”

Stransky skates for the Saskatoon Blades

“He took another step,” said Holland. “He was one of their go-to guys in Saskatoon. He’s taken a step forward offensively and was one of their leaders. We were very happy with the jump from his draft year to his 18-year-old year.”

The Stars see a lot of strong attributes in Stransky, who is listed at 6-2, 196 pounds and possesses good hands, skills and instincts.

“He’s a big man and an elusive, slippery forward,” said Jackson. “He has great puck skills and a nose for the net.”

There is one attribute that stands out.

“His puck possession,” said Holland. “In my opinion, he might have been the best puck possession guy below the dots in the Western Hockey League. He’s a big guy who sees his options so quickly and is tough to defend for defensemen because his body position and his puck protection is probably second to none out there.”

As with any young player, there is plenty to work on. Holland noted that Stransky needs to work on his skating, speed and strength. Stransky, who is right-handed, has shown he is capable on the offensive side of things. The Stars would like him to shore up matters in other areas.

“I think he’s got to become more responsible in the 200-foot part of the game, play both sides of the puck and become a little more responsible defensively,” Jackson said. “He’s got unique skill. There’s some work to do, but the foundation is pretty impressive.”

Stransky, who is expected to play with Saskatoon one more year, has plenty to look forward to this coming season. He’s expected to take part in his first NHL training camp, and there is a bonus with the addition of fellow Czech Jaromir Jagr to the Stars’ roster.

“He’s a legend in the Czech Republic, so I was like, wow,” Stransky said of the Stars signing Jagr. “I am hoping I can skate with him (in training camp). That’s going to be big.”

Last season, Saskatoon was swept in the first round of the WHL playoffs. This coming season, expectations are high for the Blades, who are guaranteed a spot in the Memorial Cup as the host team.

“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “We are going to have a good team, we made some good trades and we’ll see who my linemates are going to be. I’m excited.”

And the Stars are excited about the Stransky, and believe he is poised to take another step forward in 2012-13.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 66 41 18 7 196 162 89
3 STL 64 40 19 5 198 162 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 MIN 64 35 22 7 181 164 77
6 VAN 64 36 24 4 184 176 76
7 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
8 CGY 64 35 25 4 182 165 74
9 LAK 64 31 21 12 175 167 74
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 DAL 65 29 26 10 203 215 68
12 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
13 ARI 65 21 37 7 142 220 49
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 65 23 38 -3 61
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 65 15 37 -5 52
J. Klingberg 51 10 25 4 35
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
C. Eakin 62 15 15 -1 30
A. Goligoski 65 3 24 3 27
A. Hemsky 59 9 17 -9 26
A. Roussel 63 12 12 -12 24
S. Horcoff 61 9 14 3 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 26 13 10 .905 2.98
J. Enroth 14 25 2 .901 3.26
#LONESTARSSTATE GAMEDAY FAN

DallasStars.com is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Corporate Partnerships | Contact UsPrivacy Policy | AdChoices | Job Opportunities | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map | Find us on Google+