Prospect of Interest: The 411 on Libor Hajek

General managers from around the NHL comment on the importance of the 2016 NHL Draft.

He’s a smooth skating defenceman with a bomb of a shot, who made his professional debut at 16 and traveled halfway around the world to get recognized as one of the top prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft. And he models his game after Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty.

Meet Libor Hajek of the Czech Republic. Here’s everything you need to know about him.

Age on June 24: 18
Current Team: Saskatoon Blades
Position: Defence
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 185 pounds
From: Smrcek, Czech Republic
Twitter: @libas42
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America): 31st

Jeff Marek’s Take: Great first pass out of the defensive zone and can really skate. Doesn’t have a big shot from the point, but can be a solid second pairing blueliner.

Hajek made his debut with the Kometa Hockey Club in the Czech Men’s League in 2014-15. A 16-year-old playing professional hockey would certainly attract significant interest from North American clubs, and when he made the decision to pursue his career in Canada the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades picked him second overall—ahead of highly touted prospects Alexander Nylander and Mikhail Sergachev—in the CHL import draft.

“The level of hockey in Canada is so much better,” Hajek told Jacob Weinberger of earlier this season. “The competition is so much better. It’s a lot faster. I also prefer the smaller rinks in Canada.”

Gifted skater…
There’s no greater asset to have from the back end than strong skating, and Hajek definitely impresses in that category.

“He has an excellent first step and good acceleration in both directions,” reads the report at “He also has excellent pivots and agility allowing him to cover large areas of the ice effectively, and transition well from offence to defence and vice-versa. Hajek has a powerful stride and good balance.”

Impressive rookie season…
Hajek led his team’s blue line with 26 points this season and finished sixth among WHL rookie defencemen in scoring.

How he did it turned a lot of heads.

Here’s what Justin Froese of said about Hajek:

“The first thing I noticed about the youngster was his confidence and ability to calm plays down when there was pressure introduced to a situation. His elusiveness in the defensive zone while being harassed by forecheckers is impressive. Hajek uses brilliance and slick puck handling skills to weave away from opponents and avoid checks; passing smoothly to a teammate or transitioning pucks out of the defensive zone himself when he finds a lane.”

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News adds that Hajek is “a do-everything defenceman with size and calmness to his game.”

A Drew Doughty fan…
If there’s one NHL player Hajek would want to emulate, it’s Kings defenceman Drew Doughty.

“He plays forward, but on defence,” Hajek told Kelly Friesen of Yahoo Sports. “He has good shooting, good vision, and is fast.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.