It was no secret, the Regina Pats weren't very good last season. They were a young hockey club and needed help in almost every area of their game.
A quick way to address many of those issues is through the CHL import draft. It's almost like a version of free agency for the CHL. You are free to grab European players who, in many cases, can instantly improve your team.
That's what the Pats have done with Dominik Volek. The Pats grabbed the Czech forward 9th overall this past summer.
I've had the chance to watch him a couple of times this season, and I have been very impressed.
He's got average size, standing in at 6'0 and 175 pounds.
His skating is not the prettiest as he has a low and awkward stride. But, he's got powerful legs and seems to have good top end speed once he gets going. As mentioned, he doesn't have great straight ahead acceleration but he does have solid quickness when it comes to stopping and starting or simply changing directions.
He seems to have very good hockey sense and always has his head on a swivel, watching and waiting for plays to develop, waiting to capitalize.
He's shown very strong passing skills and overall vision. I've seen him make a number of good saucer passes or even simple and effective passes on the breakout.
I like his ability to handle the puck on the half-wall on the powerplay and he doesn't hesitate to either set up a play or throw the puck on net to try and create chances.
I did see him overwhelmed a few times when the defence played tight to him, playing a tighter checking game both on the penalty kill and at even strength. I'm sure on the smaller ice in North America it will take some time to adjust to it, but he surely has the hands and smarts to improve in that area.
As with any young player, I would obviously like him to improve his skating quite a bit, especially his first few strides.
With that being said, I don't see a whole lot of issues with his game and Dominik Volek is definitely a kid that many NHL teams will be watching this season, putting him Officially On The Radar.