Here are the Czech players we'll be keeping an eye on at the 2013 WJHC starting December 26th. This is not a ranking of their top players or prospects, just the guys that we're interested in scouting and assessing their future fantasy hockey potential.
#19 Tomas Hertl, C (SJ-2012-1st-#17) - At #1 on our watchlist, of course, is our boy T-Hert. Love what this kid has been doing in the top Czech league with as he leads his team in goals & points with 12+10=22 in 29 games and was one of the more impressive players at last year's WJC as he tied for the team lead in points with 3+2=5 in 6 games as an underager. We had him at #4 in our 2012 Fantasy Draft Rankings and are expecting the rest of the world to clue in after an eye-opening tournament.
#13 Radek Faksa, C (DAL-2012-1st-#13) - Went higher in the draft than Hertl last year but, from what I've seen, his offensive skills don't impress that much and I'm wondering if the Stars spent a high pick on a grinder. Played in the tournament last year as just a 17-year-old and scored twice but he'll be counted on to play a bigger role this year. I'll be watching him closely to see if he can step up.
#94 Jakub Vrana, RW (2014 Eligible) - Just 16(!) but already tearing up the Swedish Jr. circuit (12+11=23 in 15 gms) and has seen action in a handful of SEL games already. Not sure how much action he'll see in Ufa but looking forward to seeing him as he is one for the distant future.
#20 Dmitrij Jaskin, RW (STL-2011-2nd-#41) - Was a regular in the Extraliga as a 17/18-year-old but struggled last season with just 1+1=2 in 30 games. Moved to the Q this year and he's dominating with 23+27=50 in 31 games to sit top 10 in league scoring. Hoping to see him carry over that swagger onto the international stage as he should be one of the top scorers for this squad.
#5 Martin Frk, RW (DET-2012-2nd-#49) - This would have been Frk's 3rd WJCs but his missed last year's with an injury. There is a lot to like about him as he has a solid frame and nice puck skills. He's been lining up on the top line in Halifax with MacKinnon & Drouin this year so we're interested to see how he looks without those two.
Others to Watch:
#1 Patrik Bartosak, G (Undrafted 2011 & 2012) - He is in his second year in Red Deer and is putting up an impressive season as he sits top 5 in the league in Wins (17), gaa (2.35) & sv% (.931). Comes into the tournament hot as he is 9-0-1 over his last 10 games. Bartosak doesn't have a lot of international experience but methinks the Czechs would be wise to ride the hot hand here.
#13 Marek Hrbas, D (Undrafted 2011 & 2012) - Has a wealth of international caps, including last year's WJC, and seems to produce better for his country than he does in the WHL for Kamloops.
#6 David Musil, D (EDM-2011-2nd-#31) - This guy is going to be an NHLer but he projects as the tough-as-nails defensive type so he'll be of more interest to those of you that value peripherals like PIMs, hits & blocks.
#12 Tomas Pavelka, D (Undrafted 2011 & 2012) - His numbers don't really stand out but this season for PEI he's putting up nearly a point/gm with 6+20=26 in 29 games.
#27 Tomas Hyka, RW (LA-2012-6th-#171) - He's a small playmaker who can put up points in the Q (64 in 50 games last season) and should be one of the Czech's top threats as a returning player.
Anyone I missed?... let me know in the comments.