Simon Stransky’s decision to take the same path as his older brother, former Saskatoon Blade and Dallas Stars pick Matej Stransky, by leaving the Czech Republic to play in the WHL has paid notable dividends. The Prince Albert Raiders winger has asserted himself as a potential first-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft class, as he was recently ranked 24th among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting Service’s midterm ranking.
“He said it was a good experience and that it would be good for me, too,” says Stransky on his decision to play in the WHL. “He told me they have good coaches out here and it’s a good way to get to the next level.”
Evident in his stats, the 6-foot, 169-pound Stransky has evolved his game in his sophomore season with the Raiders. He’s netted 14 goals and 38 points in 37 contests following notching 42 points in 70 contests last year.
“I’ve played a lot this year,” says the Ostrava, Czech Republic native. “The coach gives me a lot of ice time and I’ve had good linemates. I’ve been given a good opportunity here.”
Scouts have been most impressed with Stransky’s playmaking abilities and hockey sense. He’s shown he has a knack for knowing where to be and how to get his teammates the puck when they are in a scoring position.
“Stransky has a good offensive IQ and is really good at finding quick lanes to feed his teammates,” says Future Considerations scout Justin Froese. “He uses this same awareness to go unnoticed and show up in open ice for a look at the net. He has the touch to get pucks through traffic and the creative hands to dance around opponents when he has a step on them.”
That said, besides the three-inch difference in height, there are notable differences between Stransky and his brother. He believes he’s more of a playmaker while his brother looks to shoot the puck more often than not.
“There are a lot of differences between us,” says Stransky, who turned 18 in December. “He’s bigger than me and is more of a scorer. I like to set up plays and am a playmaker.”
1. When did you start playing hockey as a kid?
“When I was three years old. My dad (Darek Stransky) used to play and he helped me learn everything.”
2. Do you have a favourite NHL player?
“(Chicago Blackhawks star) Patrick Kane. He’s very skilled and is one of the best players in the NHL.”
3. Do you have a favourite NHL team?
“The New York Rangers. I’ve always liked them and thought it would be nice to play for them.”
4. What’s your favourite movie or TV show that you like to watch on road trips?
“Rocky Balboa. It’s an exciting movie that I like.”
5. What’s the biggest difference you have noticed in living in Canada compared to the Czech Republic?
“The people are different here. They are nicer and more helpful.”
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen