The latest in a series of updates on some of the top prospects of the Dallas Stars looks at right wing Matej Stransky, who will turn pro this coming season.
Stransky, Dallas’ sixth round pick (165th overall) in 2011, is coming off a solid final season of junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. He tallied 85 points (40 goals, 45 assists) in 72 games, ranking 12th in the WHL in goal scoring and 15th in points.
Stransky’s numbers were impressive, considering he got off to a slow start. It was a start that mirrored that of the team. But both Stransky and the Blades picked up the pace as the season moved along and both had very good regular seasons.
“The start was pretty tough because we traded for some players and the whole team was kind of new. Then we got on a streak and that kind of helped us a lot,” said Stransky. “I had pretty much the same number of points as the year before. The coaches wanted me to score some goals and I did that. I was pretty happy about the season.”
The playoffs were a different story. Saskatoon was swept in the first round of the playoffs and Stransky didn’t register a point in the four games.
“We couldn’t keep going in the playoffs and that’s why we lost,” said Stransky. “It was a pretty good year, but it could have been better. I don’t think some of those trades helped us, but it was a good team and a good group of guys.”
Still, the Blades played in the Memorial Cup because they were this year’s host team. Due to the early exit in the WHL playoffs, Stransky and his teammates had a 51 day layoff before the tournament started. Stransky scored two goals in four games, both coming in a 5-2 upset of Halifax. But the Blades ended up losing three of four games.
“It didn’t go well because we didn’t play for so long,” Stransky said. “It was hard, but it was a good experience.”
The 6-3, 215-pound Czech native is skilled, has a good shot and possesses some excellent puck protection skills.
“I think I am a power forward,” said Stransky, who shoots right-handed. “I am using my size. I like to score, so that is my game. That’s what they want me to do, so I’ve got to be like that.”
Stransky, who turned 20 in July, will play embark on first pro campaign in 2013-14 and is expected to play for the Texas Stars of the AHL. Stransky has been seeking advice from some of his Czech friends for advice on making the transition to the pro ranks.
“All those Czech guys who turned pro, I asked them about it. They said it is going to be different,” said Stransky. “They said it’s quicker and it’s more physical, so I have to gain weight and get quicker. It’s going to be tough, but I am excited. It’s the next step for me.”
Stransky has spent the summer in Dallas, working out and preparing for the upcoming season. He is expected to play for Dallas at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, attend training camp in Fort Worth and then he is expected to head to Cedar Park to join the Texas Stars.
“He’s a big kid that’s got some offensive gifts,” said Stars assistant GM Les Jackson. “We’re going to turn him pro. It’ will be a big adjustment into the American League for him. I think the only downside for him is he is going to have to get his skating up to par a little more consistently and push himself. As far as raw skills, he definitely has the talent. It will be a big adjustment, but I think he’ll adjust fine. He’ll have his bumps like they all do, but I suspect he’ll endure them.”
Matej Stransky 2012-13 statistics