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 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.
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||Servac Petrovsky||5’11”||179||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||2022|
|F||Adam Sykora||5’10”||172||HK Nitra||Slovakia||2022|
|F||Pavol Stetka||6’6″||209||HC Stadion Vrchlabi||Czech2||2022|