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Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25: #20 Michael Spacek

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The Arctic Ice Hockey Top 25 Under 25 is here! "More and more of our imports come from overseas." - George W. Bush

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rank

DOB

Acquired

Pos

Allan

Andy

Philip

Daniel

Ryan

Cara

Ian

Brian

Tim

20

1997/04/09

#108, 2015

RW/C

17

26

19

22

25

16

18

18

20

Previous Rank: n/a

What a great time to be a Winnipeg Jets fan! The team is improving year after year. Guys like Scheifele, Trouba, Lowry and Hutch are the team's future leaders. And Chevy is stocking the once bare cupboards with potential that has other NHL GM's saying "Huh! Who did Chevy just pick, and why didn't we get him?!"

Michael Spacek is another good example of that. AIH's very own Cara wrote an introductory article on Michael earlier this year, giving us a small glimpse into the player he is. Our Columbus friends over at The Cannon also compiled a cheat sheet on the 18 year old prospect.

Stats:

AIH Authors' Thoughts:

Brian:

Another fantastic value pick from Chevy. Spacek was ranked number five for international skaters. Last season, as a seventeen year old he was playing in a men’s league logging twelve points in forty games. I believe Spacek makes a decent NHL impact, just after a little more seasoning in the Czech league.

Tim:

Spacek is another undersized, but skilled prospect within the Jets system. He represents upside. He is a player with hands and skill that few in the system possess. He is also dang smart AND he has experience playing professional hockey against men.

That pro experience will be pushed aside this year, as Spacek will join the ranks of the WHL. This will allow him the opportunity to showcase his skills to the masses. While I doubt this is his motivation, it will impact his ranking for next year

Ian:

Michael Spacek just committed to playing this year with the Red Deer Rebels which will surely help his development and let both fans and scouts in the organization get a closer look at him. Good skater but the knock on him is his lack of physical strength, which will likely improve as he gets older.

Allan:

I would expect Spacek to move up in the rankings next fall. I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the top 12.

Andy:

Michael Spacek was a steal for the Jets in the 4th round of the 2015 draft. A center with smarts and skill in the face off circle, Spacek will be moving his game to North America this coming year, and will gain some valuable experience in Red Deer. Nik Ehlers has done this over the past few years, and it has done wonders for his game. Could the Jets be envisioning Spacek centering Ehlers down the road? I dunno, but I hope so.

Philip:

Spacek was ranked 56th by Future Considerations, 63rd by McKeen's Hockey, 75th by ISS, and a lofty 5th among international skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Getting value relative to the general consensus is always a plus in my books; it can at least mean you're not completely bonkers.

In 2014-15, then-17 year old Michael Spacek led all U19 skaters in the professional men's Czech Extraliga with 12 points in 40 games, which doesn't sound like a lot until you notice the player below him had just 7 points in 42 games. Among his U17 peers in 2013-14, Spacek came 3rd in total points with 28 in 31 games, and 2nd in points-per-game behind fellow 2015 draftee Filip Chlapik (not counting Pavel Zacha and Tomas Soustal, who played only 10 and 4 games respectively). In short, the kid's no offensive dolt.

Spacek's calling card in my opinion is as a very patient and capable passer. He sees the ice well, including his teammates, and can typically land the tape-to-tape pass even through tight seams. Especially without the puck, he has a knack for forcing himself into space, where he can take advantage of soft hands and a surprisingly hard, accurate shot. Uses good posturing and agility to shield the puck and fight off pressure. Spacek keeps his feet moving and doesn't give up on the play, especially when in the offensive zone. However, while his agility may be a plus, he possesses efficient but average speed. And yes, he needs to get stronger.

The Mikhail Grabovski comparable is one I can believe in. Regardless, we'll learn a lot more about him after a season or two in Red Deer, including whether RW or C becomes his North American starting point.

Scouting Reports:

Here's what Craig Button of TSN had to say:

Projection: No. 2 Playmaking Forward.

Spacek is a smart playmaker who can take full advantage of others’ skills and knows how to get the puck to those players who can finish. He makes plays on the move and through sticks and skates. He's not deterred in any way and while he doesn’t catch your eye with physical flash, he captures your attention with his mental effort and purpose.

NHL Comparable: Tomas Plekanec.

As well as this profile from Sportsnet:

Such a hard player to get a read on. Has skill but doesn’t show it every game. The skating is good but size is an issue considering his work ethic. He gives you glimpses but always leaves you wanting more. Comparable: Mikhail Grabovski.

And finally, The Cannon's aforementioned cheat sheet included this from NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb:

He's a hard worker with a good skill set, makes good decisions, is a smart passer and playmaker...quick and mobile, an all-around player with a nose for the net. He is a bit smallish and needs more physical strength.

Video:


Summary:

As mentioned above, Spacek was drafted by and has committed to the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, and I know I'm not alone in saying it was a good move to bring his game to North America. He'll be able to grow and adjust his game to the smaller ice surface, making him a more complete and team compatible player moving forward.

What do you think? Will Michael light it up in the WHL?  Have the Jets pulled a rabbit out of the hat with this draft pick? Tell us what you think below, and thanks for reading!