Selected by the Rangers in the ninth round (266th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Their Scouting Report:
A tremendous skater with a fast acceleration ... Utilizes his speed to make up for his lack of size ... Is a very deceptive puck handler ... Possesses good hockey sense ... Is lethal around the goal thanks to his above-average smarts and finishing skills ... Is dangerous in one-on-one situations and also on the power play.
Yep, I'd say that all sounds about right. Moving on . . .
San Jose Sharks On Kaspar
Drafted by San Jose in the 1st Round (22nd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Nothing too exciting on their developing players page (link). But this article is very interesting: Kaspar Learning In Ottawa via San Jose Sharks News:
Five months ago, Sharks prospect Lukas (LU-Kesh) Kaspar (Kas-Par) was celebrating being San Jose's first round pick by having a translator do his speaking to the press. Now, Kapsar is a month into his North American hockey career and his game and the language are flourishing.
Kaspar recently spoke with sjsharks.com about his time with the Ottawa 67's, the old junior club of Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson, and no translator was necessary.
"It's better now," said Kaspar of his English. "It's not perfect, but there is no translator."
What can't be denied is that Kaspar's adjustment to the North American style of play is going just as well, if not better. The 18-year-old has posted 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 20 games, ranking second on his club in goals and points. His +8 plus/minus rating is third on the club, showing he has a knack for the defensive end of the ice.
"He is very mature in his physical development, much like Milan Michalek (San Jose's 2003 first round pick)," said Wilson. "He loves to live life and he loves to play hockey. His junior coach Brian Kilrea feels he is one of the dominant players in the league.
Kaspar is looking for more out of himself.
"The numbers could be better," said Kaspar. "I could have had more points, more of everything. The other night Jakub (Petruzalek) and I had a lot of chances, but couldn't score."
"We are very pleased with his progress," said Wilson. "He knows where he wants to get and is not going to take a shortcut."
The Jakub that Kaspar refers to is Petruzalek, a fellow Czech, who leads the 67's in scoring. Petruzalek has the benefit of previously playing in North America and has helped Kaspar's transition on and off the ice.
On the ice has been the biggest adjustment, which makes one wonder what Kaspar might do when he really feels comfortable.
"The rinks here are smaller, so everything is different," said Kaspar. "Here there is more hitting and in Czech you can play more with the puck. We can play four games in four nights, but I want the ice time. It is why I am here."
Kaspar previously had been to North America to play in a tournament, for the draft and a couple of other occasions, but now he is here full-time and it is definitely different.
"I miss my family (mother, father and 15-year-old sister)," said Kaspar. "They may come in January. I miss Czech food too. We (Petruzalek) met a Czech butcher who we spend a lot of time with."
Still, Kaspar is glad he is in Ottawa instead of his hometown now.
"It is not hard because it is why I am here," said Kaspar of his goal of reaching the NHL.
Kaspar is from Most, a town of about 30,000 people, and he is used to playing before 3,000-4,000 fans. In the much larger Ontario city of Ottawa, he sees many more friendly faces in the stands.
"In Ottawa, there is more press and every home game is on TV," said Kaspar. "Every game here has 8-9,000 people. It is very different than the Czech Elite League."
At home, the 67's have an impressive 10-1 mark, but overall they are 9-10-2-1.
"At home we are playing great," said Kaspar. "There are 9,000 people cheering for us and it is a good feeling. We hope to play better on the road."
If all goes well for Kaspar, it is likely he will represent Czech in the World Junior tournament for a second consecutive year. This year's championship will be hosted on United States soil in North Dakota and Minnesota.
"It would be a great opportunity for him to play against his peer group," said Wilson. "A lot of top players in the game today have experienced that tournament."
For this season, Kaspar will hone his skills in the OHL, but at some point in the future, he should be a fixture for the Sharks.
"We expect Lukas to be an integral part of the organization going forward," said Wilson.
Love these stories.