With under a week to go before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Caps Across The Pond will be profiling yet more potentail Caps selections - today, it's Radek Faksa of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers.
Position - Center
Date of Birth - Jan 9th 1994 (Age 18)
Height - 6'3
Weight - 203lbs
Birthplace - Opava, Czech Republic
Shoots - Left
Radek Faksa is a well-rounded Czech center playing with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. A two-way forward, Faksa brings all the skills needed of a modern NHL player, including good skating, very sound technical skills, and a high hockey IQ.
With Marcus Johansson seemingly more effective on the wing and Brooks Laich having more value to the team when anchoring the third-line, the Caps perennially have a need at second-line center. A dynamic center with the ability to man both ends of the ice, score, and win faceoffs, Faksa could fill that need, while also acting as a good complement for the Caps' smaller players, like Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, and, if he comes, Evgeny Kuznetsov on his wings.
In 62 games with the OHL's Kitchener Rangers this season, Faksa scored 29 goals and recorded 38 assists for 67 points, to go along with 47 penalty minutes and a plus-19.
An advantage that Faksa brings is that, unlike most of the prospects in the draft class, there are very few downsides to his game. Already having the size and strength to play in the NHL, Faksa, while not overly physical, uses his body well on the ice, effectively nullifying a criticism often made of European players. Despite that size, Faksa is still a very sound skater, allowing him to be a force in the neutral zone and a more dynamic forward.
Where will he go? Faksa is ranked as the number seven North American skater by Central Scouting, meaning there is a good chance he is still around by the time the Caps pick at number 11. Considering the upside he brings and the low-risk nature of his game, the Caps could well pick him up with their first pick in the draft.