December 22, 2021

Nemec, Slafkovsky lead Slovakia into World Juniors

Slovakia’s hopes at the 2022 World Juniors could hinge on a pair of 17-year-olds.

The upstart group, which pulled out of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with silver some five months, will rely on their youthful pipeline fronted by the likes of Juraj Slafkovsky and Simon Nemec.

The 6-foot-4 Slafkovsky has been honing his skills in Liiga, Finland’s top men’s league, for TPS — where he has registered four points (one goal, three assists) in 20 games. 

“Slafkovsky is a strong winger who plays a power forward game with great offensive instincts,” observed Finland-based FCHockey scout Ville Holopainen. “His strong stride makes him quick enough to challenge defensemen and if he gets just a little opening his strong edgework makes him really hard to keep outside on the rush.”

Slafkovsky is No. 9 on the FCHockey Winter rankings for the 2022 draft, and a dominant World Juniors tournament may help him jump a few spots.

Nemec, too.

He is another highly touted prospect who will log big minutes for the Slovaks on the back end. The 6-foot-1 defenseman plays for HK Nitra in his home country of Slovakia and has 13 points – all assists – in 22 games. 

Nemec, currently ranked No. 3, will be relied upon for leadership throughout the tournament and was awarded an alternate captain designation by the Slovak Team, although only being 17.

“Whether it’s with his feet or with a pass, Nemec is relied heavily on by his team to get the puck up the ice and he does so with relative ease,” head FCHockey crossover scout Josh Bell wrote. “He’s a smooth skater, with a fluid, powerful stride and a good mix of crossovers in his movement. His decisions with the puck on his stick are excellent, really opening up the ice and creating chances for his team.”

A third 2022 eligible will help the cause, too.

Fiip Mesaris a speedy forward plays a hard nosed game and has some scoring skills to go along with it. He will be expected to carry some of the offensive load for the Slovaks and should help bolster their power play.

“Mesar is very agile and is able to escape pressure with quick cuts, stops and weight shifts,” FCHockey scout Miroslav Simurka said. “Regardless of the situation, at full speed, under pressure or in tight areas, Mesar seems to be in full control every time he touches the puck.”

One player that needs to be mentioned on this Slovak Team is 16-year-old phenom Dalibor Dvorsky. He is projected to be a top-10 selection in the 2023 NHL Draft, which may go down as one of the best drafts in the past 20 years.

Here is the Team Slovakia roster at the WJC:

G Tomas Bolo 6’2″ 190 St. Cloud Norsemen NAHL 2022
G Ratislav Elias 6’3″ 176 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 2022
G Simon Latkoczy 6’0″ 168 Madison Capitals USHL 2022
D Denis Bakala 6’3″ 198 HC Presov Slovakia 2022
D Simon Becar 6’0″ 154 Chicago Steel USHL 2022
D Jozef Kmec 6’1″ 192 HK Nitra Slovakia 2022
D Samuel Knazko 6’1″ 190 Seattle Thunderbirds WHL Columbus Blue Jackets 2020 3 78
D Simon Nemec 6’1″ 192 HK Nitra Slovakia 2022
D Rayen Petrovicky 6’1″ 179 TUTO Hockey U20 SM-sarja 2022
D Marko Stacha 6’1″ 196 Kamloops Blazers WHL 2022
D Maxim Strbak 6’2″ 183 Jokerit U20 SM-sarja 2023
F Martin Chromiak 6’0″ 187 Kingston Frontenacs OHL Los Angeles Kings 2020 5 128
F Jakub Demek 6’4″ 196 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL Vegas Golden Knights 2021 4 128
F Dalibor Dvorsky 6’1″ 190 AIK J20 Nationell 2023
F Roman Faith 6’0″ 174 HK Ducla Slovakia 2022
F Maros Jedlicka 6’2″ 194 HKM Zvolen Slovakia 2022
F Matej Kaslik 6’0″ 183 Chicoutimi Sagueneens 2022
F Samuel Krajc 6’2″ 201 HK Dukla Trencin Slovakia 2022
F Filip Mesar 5’10” 172 HK Poprad Slovakia 2022
F Oleksii Myklukha 5’10” 176 Blainville-Boisbriand QMJHL 2022
F Servac Petrovsky 5’11” 179 Owen Sound Attack OHL 2022
F Juraj Slafkovsky 6’4″ 225 TPS Liiga 2022
F Adam Sykora 5’10” 172 HK Nitra Slovakia 2022
F Pavol Stetka 6’6″ 209 HC Stadion Vrchlabi Czech2 2022

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