Group A previews end with Team Slovakia for the 2018 World Junior Championship as DBTB moves over to Group B. Slovakia is a weaker team that has relied on stellar goaltending in the past. This year they have a little more offensive firepower to help out.
Slovakia in a tight group with Canada and the United States does not help them much, but against Denmark and Finland, there is the opportunity to keep their offensive rush to the outside and make their chances count.
Roman Durny, MHk 32 Liptovsky Mikulas
David Hrenak, St. Cloud State University (NCAA)
Jakub Kostelny, HK DUKLA Trencin
While Durny was on the Slovakian roster last year during the World Juniors, he did not enter a game so this is a group of goalies with fresh legs in the tournament and neither of them stand-out size wise. Durny has the broadest frame and has the first-hand experience in the tourney, but the play of David Hrenak could slide him into the starter position.
Martin Bodak, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Martin Fehervary, Oskarshamn IK (SWE)
Samuel Fereta, Slovan Bratislava
Tomas Hedera, Slovan Bratislava
Michal Ivan, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
Marek Korencik, Lulea HF (SWE)
Dusan Kmec, Philadelphia Rebels (NAHL)
Andrej Lesko, Bili Tygri Liberec (CZE)
David Matejovic, MMHK Nitra
Vojtech Zelenak, Sparta Prague (CZE)
No one name stands out on the Slovakian blueline, but there are some underrated prospects that could be poised for a breakout tournament.
Michal Ivan is a 2018 NHL Draft prospect that is an okay skater, but a great positioned defender when it comes to playing in his own end. UDFA Martin Bodak is a defender who has had success in the past of generating offense but has not been able to translate it to North America this year.
Samuel Bucek, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Viliam Cacho, Dukla Trencin
Niki Jasko, Slovan Bratislava
Milos Kelemen, HKM Zvolen
Filip Krivosik, LeKi Hockey (FIN)
Peter Kundrik, HK Poprad
Adam Liska, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Patrik Marcinek, HKM Zvolen
Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants (OHL)
Adam Ruzicka, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Erik Smolka, Dukla Trencin
Samuel Solensky, Johnstown Tomahawks (NAHL)
Marian Studenic, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Alex Tamasi, HC'05 Banska Bystrica
Vladimir Vybiral, MHk 32 Liptovsky Mikulas
Team Slovakia has some large playmakers on this offense. The most astute of the group being Calgary Flames prospect Adam Ruzicka. 6’4” and 203 lbs. and great with the puck, Ruzicka is a fantastic power forward for the Slovaks.
Filip Krivosik is another huge winger that can sometimes make plays with the puck. Overager Samuel Bucek is a great special teams asset as he is slick with the puck in tight spaces. Vancouver Giant Milos Roman will also be using the WJC to showcase his speed and playmaking ability to draft scouts.
Slovakia will need to outlast Denmark and Finland for success in the group. The team opens against Canada and the US, back to back. Not a great start, but the key will be to come out of those games with knowledge and use it against Denmark and Finland.