The Czech Republic is no longer a dominant force in international hockey.
It hasn’t won a medal at the World Championships since 2010 and has finished sixth place or lower in three of the last four Winter Olympics.
The Czech Republic had a veteran team at the 2014 Sochi Games, where it placed sixth. The two-best Czech players in the prime of their careers are Boston Bruins center David Krejci and Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek, who are 29 and 25 years old, respectively.
The 2014 Olympic roster was full of veterans, and it’s time for a new generation of Czech players to step up. One player who could fill the void is 19-year-old Bruins right winger David Pastrnak.
“I wish younger players start to show up (at Worlds),” Jaromir Jagr, the best Czech player of all time, recently told Michael Langr of NHL.com. “Maybe there’s a new generation of players such as (Ondrej) Palat, (David) Pastrnak and this young generation, I also wish some young Czech defensemen would jump into the NHL.
“You could see even here that the guys who were playing in the NHL are on the top, it’s just a different League. You have 82 games of superb quality. That’s what helps every player develop and move forward. NHL is totally above all other Leagues, no doubt about that. And I believe our (Czech) youngsters start to come play (at the Worlds) no matter if they have contracts for the next season or not.”
Pastrnak, who played well as a rookie for the Bruins this season with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 46 games, has already impressed during international competition.
He tallied seven points for the Czech Republic at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships, including a game-winning goal in overtime against Denmark during the preliminary round.
Pastrnak’s age and high-end offensive skill make him a prime candidate for Czech Republic rosters at upcoming World Championships, Olympic Games and the new World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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