The Winnipeg Jets announced that one of their prospects has signed a contract in Russia and the Edmonton Oilers have loaned one of their prospects overseas. We also take a look at a player who could make some noise down the road as a late-round selection for our Prospect of the Day.
Jets Prospect Spacek Signs in Finland
The Winnipeg Jets have announced that Michael Spacek has signed a one-year deal with Tappara Tampere of the Liiga. The native of Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic was originally drafted by the Jets in the fourth round, 108th overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Spacek split his junior hockey years between HC Pardubice of the Czech U18 and U20 leagues and the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In his two years with the Rebels, he scored 48 goals and added 91 assists for 139 points in 120 games.
Over the past three seasons, Spacek has managed to establish himself as one of the most important players on the Manitoba Moose. Although this past season was not the greatest for him, finishing with 20 points in 45 games, he has managed to collect 100 points in 193 games. With him signing in the Liiga, his game will continue to grow and it will only benefit him and the Jets in the long run.
Oilers Loan Russian Prospect Makismov Overseas
The Edmonton Oilers announced that they have loaned prospect Kirill Maksimov to CKSA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for the 2020-21 season. The native of Moskva, Russia, was originally drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round, 146th overall, in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Maksimov spent this past season playing for the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL). In 53 games, he managed to score 5 goals and add 8 assists for 13 points. Prior to this season, Maksimov spent four seasons playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Saginaw Spirit and the Niagara IceDogs. In 245 career games, he scored 101 goals and added 117 assists for 218 career points.
Although Makisimov had a rough rookie season in the pros, he is still a player who could make an impact for the Oilers down the road. He has a great shot and can get it off in a heartbeat. He also has great vision and can set up teammates in the slot with a solid, crisp pass even with defenders pressuring him.
Prospect of the Day – James Hardie
For our Prospect of the Day, we will be taking a look at left-winger James Hardie, who had a solid season playing for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. Currently ranked 213th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Hardie seems like a long shot to get drafted, but he has the skills to get there.
In 59 games played for the Steelheads this past season, Hardie managed to score 34 goals and added 29 assists for 63 points. While nothing in his game is at the top of this draft class, Hardie still plays the game the right way and is a consistent producer on a nightly basis. He was second on his team in scoring this past season and even managed to lead his team in goals.
What I really like about Hardie is his relentless approach to the game whenever he steps on the ice. He may not blow you away with his skills, but he is constantly moving his legs and is always trying to make a play with the puck.
Our own Andrew Forbes believes that Hardie has what it takes to become a complete NHL player.
“He’s definitely looking at a hard fought battle to get from a mid-round pick to an NHL winger, but it is far from being out of the question. At this point, his offence is good enough to push him into a top six role somewhere down the road, but without the defensive responsibility, he may not rise higher than a third line role. That said, with the help of a good development team, he could become a complete NHL player.”
Hardie has all the skills required to make an impact in the future. Now, it is up to him to continue to work hard and develop to show that he has what it takes to make it to the NHL.